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Baseball and the Negro Leagues

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Date and time
Wednesday, March 29, 2000

Georgia Perimeter College convenes a panel from the Negro Leagues to discuss the history of African Americans and baseball, primarily focusing on how the past affects the present and future. The Negro Leagues, formed for African American players in the late 19th century, provided a forum for black baseball teams until the 1950's. The league launched the careers of baseball icons such as Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, and Willie Mays, and remains an important part of baseball history in America. James R. Moore played with the Atlanta Black Crackers, Newark Eagles, and Baltimore Elite Giants. Harold Wade played professional baseball with the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox organizations. He went on to become Atlanta Metropolitan College President and to have a 42-year career in higher education. Lawrence Williams played for the Kansas City Monarchs and worked for the Ford Motor Company.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Moore began playing after graduating Booker T. Washington High School in 1933 with Atlanta Black Crackers.[1] Over the next six years, Moore moved among that team, Macon Peaches, Chattanooga Choo-Choos, Schenectady Black Socks, Newark Eagles and Baltimore Elite Giants, gradually earning a reputation according to Voices from the Negro Leagues as perhaps "the best fielding basement of all time" in his league.[2] In 1940, after finishing the regular season in Baltimore, Moore played in a winter season in Los Angeles, California that allowed white and black players to compete against each other, a competition that was first allowed and then halted by Major League Baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis.[3] Moore himself believed that the games were halted because the black players were too successful, stating that "The public, they liked to see the competition, but the commissioner, he didn't have that attitude after he found out that we were drawin' real good crowds and we were beatin' 'em a lot."[3] Moore registered for military draft in October of 1940 and served from 1942 to 1945. For the three years after World War II, he returned to baseball with the Black Crackers.[3] At his most highly paid, prior to the war, he earned $250 a month with a $1.50 daily food allowance.[4] In 2006, Moore was among six individuals inducted into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame, in its second year of existence.[5]