The Early Image of Black Baseball

Race and Representation in the Popular Press, 1871–1890


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About the Book

This volume examines early black baseball as it was represented in the artwork and written accounts of the popular press. From contemporary postbellum articles, illustrations, photographs and woodcuts, a unique image of the black athlete emerges, one that was not always positive but was nonetheless central in understanding the evolving black image in American culture. Chapters cover press depictions of championship games, specific teams and athletes, and the fans and culture surrounding black baseball.

About the Author(s)

James E. Brunson III is an art historian who specializes in American Modernism. His work has been published in NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture, and Base Ball: A Journal of the Early Game. A practicing artist who specializes in watercolor painting, he currently teaches visual culture at Northern Illinois University.

Bibliographic Details

James E. Brunson III
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 232
Bibliographic Info: 61 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4206-5
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5425-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi
Preface      1
Introduction      5

1. Dust from Many Diamonds: Trauma, Memory, and the Colored Championship      13
2. “Fifteenth-Amendment Club-Slingers”: Colored Base Ball and the St. Louis Sporting Fraternity, 1875–1877      46
3. Dudes, Macks, Land Ladies, Waiters, Tonsorialists, and Aesthetes: The Colored Sporting Fraternity      68
4. Men of Mark and Marked Men: Black Baseball Representation      105
5. “A Mirthful Spectacle”: Representing Negro Comedy or Black Aesthetic Style      128
6. Genuine Colored Artists: Black Legs, Black Stockings, and Colored Baseball, 1877–1888      157

Coda: A Glance Over the Diamond Fields of the Continent      181
Chapter Notes      199
Bibliography      215
Index      219

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Impressive”—Library Journal.