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Sixty-four years before Jackie Robinson, a UM athlete broke baseball’s color barrier



The baseball season is once again upon us. The national pastime carries an overwhelming sense of history and tradition that continues to make the game fascinating to watch — even if your favorite team is struggling. 


However, a less romantic part of baseball’s history is its long policy of excluding minorities. That lasted until Jackie Robinson famously broke the Major League color barrier in 1947 playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Or did he?    


Mark Harvey, a state archivist with the Michigan History Center, and Craig Brown, a Political Science Adjunct Lecturer from Kent State University, joined Stateside to share the story of Moses Fleetwood Walker, an African American player that joined the Major League for a year in the 1880s.


Listen to the conversation above to hear about Fleetwood Walker's early life, baseball career, and how he handled the racial tension of being a black athlete in that time.


Support for arts and culture coverage comes in part from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.


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