It’s the summer of 1885 and an industrious and itinerant hotel man named Frank P. Thompson is making history on Long Island. Working for the season at the Argyle Hotel in Babylon, Frank forms a baseball team for exhibition games and barnstorming through the area. Some say they formed as the Black Panthers but they went on to become the Cuban Giants, the first professional African-American team in history.
On today’s episode, fellow librarian Fabio Montella relates the story of the Cuban Giants and the related history of the Negro Leagues and segregation in baseball up through Jackie Robinson’s debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
- Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball by Lawrance D. Hogan (Find in a library)
- Out of the Shadows: African American Baseball from the Cuban Giants to Jackie Robinson by Bill Kirwin (Find in a library)
- Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
- “Black Baseball’s Rich Legacy” (NYT 4/27/2008)
- Babylon Historical Society