In the first of a three part look at how the color line was established, maintained, and ultimately brought down, Curtis talks to Ryan Swanson. Ryan is an associate professor at the University of New Mexico, focused on sports history. He wrote the book When Baseball Went White, a history of the origins of baseball’s segregation and the mechanics of its implementation.
Ryan and Curtis talk about how the history of early baseball, in the 1860s and 1870s, is deeply intertwined with the politics of Reconstruction, and how the missed opportunity of the latter is reflected in the conscious choice by baseball's white leaders to construct the color line. They also discuss how segregation was indeed a conscious choice and why white officials decided that a segregated game would be easier to sell to a post-war audience. And in between they touch on the formation of the earliest Black baseball clubs, how the post-war drive to create and join community groups led to a boom in baseball teams, and how sports and politics are closely intertwined.
You can order When Baseball Went White from Nebraska Press or wherever you get your books https://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/nebraska/9780803235212/
Learn more about Ryan's work on his website https://www.ryanswanson21.com/