San Francisco-April 20, 2013-"Take me out to the ballgame or the movie theater and stop by the box office, please!"
It was during the late1800's that
professional Black baseball leagues started. Cash flow of course was
the number one issue. Additionally, segregation made traveling and
lodging was a major league challenge.
One of the first leagues was formed in
Texas. "The Lone Star Colored League of Texas" had clubs representing,
Galveston, Temple, Austin, Palestine, Beaumont, LaGrange, Houston.
John Fowler is a Black man who played on integrated baseball teams across the nation. KTVU Health
and Science Editor, John Fowler did you know about John "Bud" Fowler?
Yes, baseball was racially integrated before Jackie Robinson. Bud
Fowler's era was before the "Color Barrier" was imposed. This is why it
is very important people of all colors and ethnic backgrounds should
How did things get this way? Because of too
many evil people with power going unchecked. Slavery had ended over
100 years ago, but when new injustices like Jim Crow, the Color Barrier
and nowadays the challenge to the limited Voting Rights Act of 1965, it
is hard to gain or regain a level playing field.
Major League Baseball is big business and the Bay Area is a prime market with the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A's.
Hindsight is 20/20 and today such an integration or merger would be
more about incorporating two leagues and not just about one player much
like the ABA and NBA in 1976. Following the ban on integrated baseball
teams, Jackie Robinson was the first Black player to break the "Color
Barrier." Robinson did so with grace, determination, and dignity
knowing he was making an historic difference in spirit and economics for
millions of people of color. He not only broke the "Color Barrier,"
he also stood up for his rights in the U.S. Army and would not move to
the back of the military bus. This was eleven years before Rosa Parks
stood her ground by keeping her seat.
As talented as he was, Jackie was not the
best Black baseball player at the time, however graduating from
U.C.L.A., growing up in Los Angeles and being a mature man, 28, he had
the right swag for the time.
Ambassador Young and Jacquie Taliaferro Talk Impact of Sports on
Social Justice. Young completing a media junket mentioned Jackie
Robinson among other sports and social justice heroes. Young spoke
later that evening, Oct. 20, 2012 at the Barbara Lee and Elihu Harris
Lecture Series of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center in
Jackie's historic winning breakthrough was a
loss as well as thousand of jobs and Black ownership dissolved away.
After Black athletes started playing in the other leagues, the "Negro
Baseball leagues" lost their fans. A large talent pool of Black
executives, managers, trainers, grounds keepers, vendors etc. had to
find new work.
It is old and new frontier for black
entrepreneurship in sports. Robert Johnson, former owner of BET ( Black
Entertainment Television) is now a principal owner of the Washington
Nationals Baseball Team in D.C.
A few years back, I hosted a film panel "Old
School/New School" for BET at the National Black Journalist
Convention. A group of journalists got to ask Robert Johnson about
entrepreneurship and running BET. I asked him, why did you stop airing
Black college football. We used to look forward to seeing Grambling vs.
Southern or Tuskegee vs Howard and those stellar half-time shows. Mr.
President, CEO Johnson, put it simply. "We aired Black college football
for three seasons and wanted to continue. There were two main factors,
viewership and advertising. Because many of our kids play for other
universities, a major chunk of our audience watched our kids on another
network with that advertisers were not paying us the same dollars as our
competitors, although our production costs are the same."
"The Benjamins" affect the bottom line.
America's past time, the all-consuming dollar, is imposing a "Green
Color Barrier" that affects how the playing field is leveled or
not---give or take a few bucks here and there.
Sharon Robinson shares the stage with Dallas Film Society Artistic
Director James Faust. Jackie Wright covering the recent Dallas Int.
Film Festival for LaHitz Media noted Robinson's daughter said the family
searched for 30 years for the right talent to bring the bigger than
life story to the screen. Article coming soon.
With that said, "the it was about time!"- Jackie Robinson story,
"42" brought in more than $27.3 million dollars during its debut
weekend. It's bound to make much more worldwide and through DVD sales,
etc. The question that is in the forefront of my mind, is how many of
those dollars will get back to the community that Jackie Robinson
represented when he broke the "Color Barrier?" Hopefully, one of the
positives of all of this will be that the Jackie Robinson Foundation will never have to breakthrough the corporate barriers to get the well-deserved financial support it deserves.
Play Ball! Make Money for All!
By A. Jacquie Taliaferro,
San Francisco Native
Giants Legend Orlando Cepeda Speaks with SF Filmmaker Jacquie
Taliaferro & NAACP Communications Chairman at the Giant's Screening
of "42" at the Historic Vogue.
The 56th San Francisco International Film Festival kicks off April
25 and runs though May 9, 2013. With over 80 films from around the
world you would be world's toughest critic not to like at least three
films. See what A. Jacquie Taliaferro has to say about one of the
longest running festivals in the United States of America.