Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers


The black press was well suited to capturing the rhythms of sports. Reporters covered daily contests, the ebb and flow of seasons, and important title fights and championship games. African-American newspapers praised the accomplishments of black athletes and saw sports as one of the most visible spaces in which black people could assert their equality. Black papers offered particularly vibrant coverage of black women in sports, such as tennis star Althea Gibson, multisport athlete Ora Washington who led the dominant Philadelphia Tribune basketball team, and Olympian Alice Coachman. Baseball dominated summer sports news, including the 1942 Negro World Series between Satchel Paige’s Kansas City Monarchs and Josh Gibson’s Washington Homestead Grays; Jackie Robinson breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier; and the three women—Connie Morgan, Toni Stone, and Mamie Johnson—who played professionally in the Negro Leagues. In the fall, attention turned to football, such as the 1958 Orange Blossom Classic between Florida A&M University and Prairie View University, and surveys of the inroads made by black college stars into professional football. Boxing was of year round interest to black newspaper readers, including coverage of title fights by stars such as Joe Louis and “Sugar” Ray Robinson.

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