Born Andrew Foster in Calvert, Texas on September 17, 1879, Hall of Fame baseball player, manager, and pioneer “Rube” Foster organized the National Association of Colored Professional Baseball Clubs, better known as the Negro Leagues, in Kansas City, Missouri on this date in 1920. Foster is known as the “father of Black baseball”. Two other black or ‘negro leagues’ preceded the established Negro National League, but neither one of them lasted more than one season. The Negro Leagues originally consisted of only eight teams and played for eleven consecutive seasons. Foster gave Black players an avenue to gain visiblity that wasn’t otherwise available to them as it was to their white counterparts. Rube was the league president and controlled every aspect of the league, inclding which players played on which teams, when and where teams played, and what equipment was used since he had to pay for it. In return, he took a modest five percent cut of all gate receipts. Also, as a player, Rube is known as one of the game’s best pitchers of the 1900s and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981. If it weren’t for Foster, Hall of Famers that had their beginnings in the Negro Leagues such as Hank Aaron, Satchel Paige, Willie Mays, and Jackie Robinson would be otherwise unheard of.
Other “Black Facts” on this date:
1882- minister, activist, and abolitionist Henry Highland Garnet died in Monrovia, Liberia at age 66. In 1843, Garnet called for a slave revolt and general slave strike at the National Black Convention in Buffalo, New York.
1892- The first Black performers, The World’s Fair Colored Opera Company, appeared in NYC’s Carnegie Hall less than one year after its opening. Concert singer Matilda Sissieretta Jones, who belonged to the Opera Company, had her solo debut at Carnegie two years later.
1923- the first Black professional basketball team, The Renaissance, was organized by Robert J. Douglas. They played from 1923 to 1939, holding an outstanding record of 1,588 wins and only 239 losses. The Renaissance was the first Black b-ball team to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
1957- the Southern Leadership Conference was founded during a meeting of ministers in New Orleans, Louisiana with Martin Luther King, Jr. serving as its first president. Later that year, the organization would change its name to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
1970- Joseph L. Searles, III began training as a floor partner with Newberger, Loeb, and Co. Searles was the first Black person on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.