Before Brooklyn: The Unsung Heroes Who Helped Break Baseball’s Color Barrier
Community Meeting Room, Main Library, 40 Washington Street, Quincy, MA, 02169
Join author and reporter Ted Reinstein to discuss his new book, Before Brooklyn: The Unsung Heroes Who Helped Break Baseball’s Color Barrier. In April of 1945, exactly two years before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in major league baseball, liberal Boston City Councilman Izzy Muchnick persuaded the Red Sox to try out three black players in return for a favorable vote to allow the team to play on Sundays. The Red Sox got the councilman’s much-needed vote, but the tryout was a sham; the three players would get no closer to the major leagues. It was a lost battle in a war that was ultimately won by Robinson in 1947. This book tells the story of the little-known heroes who fought segregation in baseball, from communist newspaper reporters to the Pullman car porters who saw to it that black newspapers espousing integration in professional sports reached the homes of blacks throughout the country. It also reminds us that the first black player in professional baseball was not Jackie Robinson but Moses Fleetwood Walker in 1884, and that for a time integrated teams were not that unusual. And then, as segregation throughout the country hardened, the exclusion of blacks in baseball quietly became the norm, and the battle for integration began anew.
Ted Reinstein has been a reporter for “Chronicle,” WCVB-TV/Boston’s award-winning—and America’s longest-running, locally-produced—nightly news magazine since 1997. In addition, he has been a contributor for the station’s political roundtable show and sits on WCVB’s editorial board. He lives just west of Boston with his wife and two daughters. He is also the author of New England Notebook (Globe, 2013) and Wicked Pissed (Globe, 2016).
Generously funded by the Friends of the Thomas Crane Public Library.