Robert Cvornyek


During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, baseball occupied an important social and cultural space in Newport’s African-American community. Black athletic clubs, fraternal and civic organizations, and local neighborhood associations sponsored semi-professional and amateur teams that regularly competed against each other and nearby white teams. These teams functioned independently, but some found a home in the city’s organized amateur leagues. Whether independent or affiliated, these ball clubs represented Newport’s black neighborhoods and functioned as agents in the formation of racial identity and community. Equally important, minority players transformed the city’s ball fields into public spaces dedicated to the struggle for equality.