Add this Event to Calendar 03/07/2024 07:00 PM 03/07/2024 07:00 PM An Evening with Ted Reinstein

An Evening with Ted Reinstein


Thursday, March 7 @ 7:00pm

About the book:

When Jack Roosevelt Robinson took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, he made history by breaking Major League Baseball’s longtime ban on Black players.  His uniform number (42) is the only one permanently retired by all of Major League Baseball’s thirty teams. What’s less well-known— and largely lost to history—is that a small army of men, women, and institutions of many types fought for many long and bitter years prior to Robinson’s triumphant debut in Brooklyn.

This hidden story includes former stars of the legendary Negro Leagues like Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston, and “Cool Papa” Bell. It includes the founder of the Negro Leagues themselves, the inexhaustible and indomitable Rube Foster, whose own story is both inspiring and tragic. It includes the Black press whose publishers and courageous journalists like Robert Abbott, Sam Lacey, Ida B. Wells, and Willa Bea Harmon raised the consciousness of Americans both Black and white to the ugly, racist underside of the national pastime. The sweeping struggle extended to America’s railroads and its Pullman Porters, who risked their jobs to become the Black press’s most unlikely but vital ally, covertly distributing copies of African-American newspapers as they crisscrossed the country. The story crossed oceans amidst World War II, when fabled all-Black units like the 761st Tank Battalion smashed both Nazi strongholds and racist stereotypes. And it even played out at Boston’s own Fenway Park where an extraordinary collaboration between a Black reporter (Wendell Smith) and a white city councilor (Izzy Muchnick) would light the final fuse that brought the barrier down in Brooklyn a scant few months later.

These and more unsung heroes were true pioneers, battling the color barrier for sixty years before Brooklyn, while making a path possible for Jackie Robinson. It was a battle largely in the shadows. But like Rosa Parks on a Montgomery bus, or John Lewis on a bridge in Selma, it was a battle of dignity and defiance in a hard-won war for justice. And this is their story.

Admission is free, light refreshments will be served.

No registration required.

This program is funded by the Hazen Memorial Library Endowment Fund.




Contact: Hazen Library 978-425-2620 shirley@cwmars.org