By Noah Syverson, Viking Fusion Executive Director
Berry’s Department Chair of Communication, Dr. Brian Carroll, was recently interviewed for an MLB.com story that looked back on the important role of the black press in the breaking of baseball’s color barrier.
The story, posted April 14 in anticipation of Jackie Robinson Day, can be found here.
Carroll has written two books on the black press and baseball, When to Stop the Cheering? The Black Press, the Black Community and the Integration of Professional Baseball and A Devil’s Bargain, The Black Press and Black Baseball 1915-1955.
The MLB.com story describes the efforts of Wendell Smith, a reporter with the Pittsburgh Courier who played an instrumental role in persuading Branch Rickey to sign Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers organization. In 1947, Robinson became the first black player to see time in the majors.
Smith was by Robinson’s side nearly the entire way, covering Robinson’s groundbreaking first season in the big leagues for the Courier and many other influential black newspapers
However, Adam Berry, the author of the article, notes that “Smith was more than just a journalist documenting Robinson’s journey. He served as a liaison between Robinson and Rickey, as Robinson’s confidant, as his guide and chauffeur and, initially, as his voice to the public.”
Every year on April 15th, Major League Baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day to honor Robinson’s contributions to the sport.