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  • Writer's pictureThe Dayton Weekly News

The Dynamic Journey Of Negro League Baseball Is Celebrated In The Official Trailer For ‘The League’

Source: Courtesy / Magnolia Pictures

If you ever wanted to know more about the Negro League and its illustrious history, wait no more.

Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Sam Pollard (MLK/FBI), executive produced by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson (Oscar-winning SUMMER OF SOUL), Mark Cuban, Todd Wagner, Tariq Trotter (DESCENDANT), and produced by RadicalMedia, THE LEAGUE celebrates the dynamic journey of Negro League baseball’s triumphs and challenges through the first half of the twentieth century.

The story is told through previously unearthed archival footage and never-before-seen interviews with legendary players like Satchel Paige and Buck O’Neil – whose early careers paved the way for the Jackie Robinson era. Also included are celebrated Hall of Famers Willie Mays and Hank Aaron who started out in the Negro Leagues. From entrepreneurial titans Cumberland Posey and Gus Greenlee, whose intense rivalry fueled the rise of two of the best baseball teams ever to play the game, to Effa Manley, the activist owner of the Newark Eagles and the only woman ever admitted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, THE LEAGUE explores Black baseball as an economic and social pillar of Black communities and a stage for some of the greatest athletes to ever play the game, while also examining the unintended consequences of integration.

The history of the Negro League is certainly a fascinating one.

African-Americans began to play baseball in the late 1800s on military teams, college teams, and company teams. They eventually found their way to professional teams with white players. Moses Fleetwood Walker and Bud Fowler were among the first to participate. However, racism and “Jim Crow” laws would force them from these teams by 1900. Thus, black players formed their own units, “barnstorming” around the country to play anyone who would challenge them.

In 1920, an organized league structure was formed under the guidance of Andrew “Rube” Foster—a former player, manager, and owner for the Chicago American Giants.

In a meeting held at the Paseo YMCA in Kansas City, Mo., Foster and a few other Midwestern team owners joined to form the Negro National League. Soon, rival leagues formed in Eastern and Southern states, bringing the thrills and innovative play of black baseball to major urban centers and rural country sides in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America.

THE LEAGUE will open exclusively in AMC Theaters on July 7 and will be available on digital July 14. Before then, check out the film’s trailer and some photos of some of the teams and players highlighted below! 1. The 1942 AA Marines

Source: Courtesy / Magnolia Pictures

2. The 1916 Chicago American Giants led by manager Rube Foster

Rube Foster (center) while managing the 1916 Chicago American Giants, from THE LEAGUE, a Magnolia Pictures release. © Hake’s Auction. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. questlove, the league, ahmir thompson

3. The Newark Eagles in 1936

Source: Courtesy / Magnolia Pictures

4. Bob Motley in action!

Source: Courtesy / Magnolia Pictures

5. Black baseball players from Morris Brown College

Source: Courtesy / Magnolia Pictures

6. Sam Pollard

Source: Courtesy / Magnolia Pictures

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