Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Kimberley L Phillips


During Jim Crow, the sport of baseball served as an important arena for African American resistance and negotiation. as a (mostly) black enterprise, the Negro Leagues functioned as part of a larger African American movement to establish black commercial ventures during segregation. Moreover, baseball's special status as the national pastime made it a significant public symbol for African American campaigns for integration and civil rights.;This dissertation attempts to interrogate the experience and significance of black baseball during Jim Crow during the first half of the twentieth century. Relying on newspapers, magazines, memoirs, biographies, and previously published oral interviews, this work looks at resistance and political critique that existed in the world of black sport, particularly in the cultural production of black baseball.;Specifically, this dissertation argues that in a number of public and semi-public arenas, African Americans used baseball as a literal and figurative space in which they could express dissatisfaction with the strictures of Jim Crow as well as the larger societal understanding of race during the early twentieth century. African Americans asserted a counter-narrative of black racial equality and superiority through their use of physical space in ballparks and on the road during travel, through the public negotiation of black manhood on the pages of the black press, through the editorial art and photography of black periodicals, and through the employment of folktales and nicknames.;The African American experience during Jim Crow baseball and the attendant social and cultural production provide a window into the subtle and unstated black resistance to white supremacy and scientific racism. Thus this dissertation explores and identifies the political meanings of black baseball.



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