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Organizations plan to memorialize Baltimore's Negro League Baseball team

Organizations planning to memorialize Baltimore's Negro League Baseball team
Organizations planning to memorialize Baltimore's Negro League Baseball team 02:51

BALTIMORE- Baltimore was home to Negro League Baseball teams. Of the various teams, the Baltimore Black Sox are arguably the most well-known team.

They were a professional Negro League Baseball team until around 1936.

But now, another team of nonprofits and organizations in Baltimore are working to commemorate this piece of history. 

Their goal is to establish a memorial to honor the legacy of the Black Sox and show they are a part of Baltimore's heritage

Genesis Scott, a senior at Coppin State University, says Black history is right here at home. 

"It is deeper than that. It is about preserving all aspects of American history, partially African American History," Scott said.

"We realized that we appreciate that Baltimore City has rich Black African American history, right here's the city of Cav Callaway, Thurgood Marshall, Billie Holiday and the Baltimore Black Sox also are among that history," said Frank Lance, the President and CEO of Parks & People. "A number of them would have been alive in 1925 when the KKK literally marched down Pennsylvania Avenue."


The Baltimore Black Sox baseball team was founded in 1913 and began playing in Westport in 1917 as part of the Negro Leagues. Players like pitcher Franklin "Doc" Sykes would go on to not only play baseball— but change the nation. 

"Baltimore Black Sox player, and civil rights activist. We're asking Coppin students to research these individuals to tell us who they are holistically, let's more so than just baseball players," said Lance. 

Together, Parks & People, South Baltimore Gateway Partnership and the City of Baltimore are in Phase One of bringing the Baltimore Black Sox Memorial to life.

"History is being lost. We want to take the Baltimore Black Sox out of antiquity and bring them into the mind, hearts and souls of people today," Lance told WJZ. 

The memorial will be a feature along a new African American Heritage Trail, symbolizing the legacy of the Black Sox and their profound influence on the city's African American history and baseball culture. 

This trail is a piece of the Reimagine Middle Branch Plan's framework.

"Holistically. Look at the Harborplace, the Baltimore Peninsula, Westport, Cherry Hill, and Locust Point. That entire mountain, that entire 11-mile stretch about what I'm speaking, this is an opportunity to change Baltimore," Lance said. 

Parks & People hopes to build the memorial park in the Middle Branch area since Westport was home to the Negro League teams in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

"Let's bring their energy, their history and their life to people today so people can understand that forum contribution that they had," said Lance. 

Part of this project includes collaborating with Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs). 

Coppin State University History Professor Dr. Teisha Dupree-Wilson and her students are some of the first to help. 

"Once you know who you are, in terms of what your people have accomplished, it gives you not only a sense of pride, a little bit of swagger, but it also reminds you of the hard work that you can accomplish," Dupree-Wilson said.

But for Dupree-Wilson, this project has a bigger meaning. 

"My passion for African American history but also my connection to Negro Leagues and baseball. I am the cousin of Wes Covington, who was one of the first African American men to play for the Philadelphia Phillies," Dr. Dupree-Wilson told WJZ. 

Students like Scott will work with Dupree-Wilson, and participate in a paid, credited program focused on researching Black Sox players and teams throughout the project. 

"Here is the key, though–  not just research some players but tell us who they were holistically as individuals," said Lance.

"Athletes are not just athletes, they're fully developed people, you know, and they also took an active role in civil rights activism," said Dupree-Wilson.

Because their stories are Baltimore stories. 

"And if we do this, right, we can do it in a way not only that we draw people in, but we can honor the legacy residents of Baltimore," said Lance. 

"I want people to feel proud and empowered. Like now they have something else that they can add to Baltimore's Legacy," said Scott.

Their hope is for this place to be a national destination– for everyone to explore Baltimore's heritage and Black History by the year 2026. 

For more information or if you would like to give feedback — complete the project's community survey. Visit this website.

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