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This set of three essays describes the careers of Black baseball players and umpires who dealt with a color line that barred them from participating with most teams of white players prior to the mid-twentieth century. The first essay — Javan Isaac Emory: Multiple Trips across Baseball’s Color Line — tells the story of Emory’s playing career during the late nineteenth century with integrated and segregated teams at several levels in Pennsylvania, from town teams to professional leagues. The second essay — Jacob B. Francis: Organized Baseball’s First Black Umpire — recounts the story of the first Black umpire in the minor leagues in 1885 and 1886 in upstate New York. At the other end of this period in history, the third essay — William Hershel Schnebly and Howard “Smokey” Molden: The Persistent Color Line — introduces two players in rural Nebraska who played in semipro leagues during the 1930s and 1940s. As the color line in minor league and major league baseball was about to end after World War II, they experienced attempts to implement segregation on the diamond at a local level.


Javan Emory, Jacob Francis, Hershel Schnebly, Howard Molden, Smokey Molden, George Stovey, integrated baseball, baseball color line, Williamsport Pennsylvania, Syracuse New York, Overton Nebraska, Lexington Nebraska, Weeping Water Nebraska, David City Nebraska.


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Crossing Baseball’s Color Line: Javan Emory, Jacob Francis, Hershel Schnebly, and Howard Molden

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