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[Detail] Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese

Historical Analysis and Interpretation: 1954 Negro League Game Program

Jackie Robinson’s signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 paved the way for other African-American baseball players. The demise of the color line also marked the beginning of the end of the Negro Leagues which lost both their players and their fans to major league baseball. The last Negro League games were played in 1955. A 1954 program for a contest between the Kansas City Monarchs and the Indianapolis Clowns provides an example of how the League appealed to its audience.

Photographs and biographies of "Feminine Stars" such as Toni Stone, who started at second base for the Kansas City Monarchs and was "famous as the first girl to play in the League," follow articles such as "Interesting Facts About the Negro League."Other attractions included Things You Might Like to Know about Clown Ed Hamman, a photograph of King Tut and his wife with bandleader Lionel Hampton, and two pages of humor from Ed Hamman, the premiere funny man of the Indianapolis Clowns.

  • What role do features such as female baseball players, celebrities, and humor play in a baseball game?
  • Are these features the type of things you would expect to be find in a game program?
  • How much of the program focuses on the game being played?
  • Who is the target audience of the different articles in the program?
  • What does this program tell you about what a game in the Negro League might have been like in 1954?
  • What are some possible reasons why the Negro League might have included features such as humor and celebrities in their entertainment in 1954?
  • What seems to have been the appeal of the League itself in the 1950s?
  • How do notions of nostalgia and spectacle contribute to the marketing of the League?