Baseball on the Radical Agenda

Baseball on the Radical Agenda, Kelly
Rusinack, SportsJones
In the 1930s and 40s, New York City’s small but significant
communist newspaper the Worker was one of the most vocal
advocates of desegregation — specifically on the field of
baseball. The paper campaigned to end Jim Crow laws and allow
African Americans to play major league baseball. On August 16,
1936, the Sunday Worker’s lead story proclaimed: ‘There was
not much difference between the Hitler who, like the coward he is,
runs away before he will shake Jesse Owens’s hand and the American
coward who won’t give the same Negro equal rights, equal pay and
equal opportunities.’ Reporter Kelly Rusinack in the online sports
webzine SportsJones creates a thoughtful essay that
surveys the Worker’s rich history of activism. Though it was
a small publication, its messages resonated throughout New York
City because many of the region’s social progressives read it.
Rusinack concludes, ‘…the integrity [editor] Lester Rodney and
his colleagues brought to this campaign was unparalleled by their
contemporaries and surpassed only by the Civil Rights movements of
the 1960s.’
–Sara V. Buckwitz
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