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History Lecture: Seth Tannenbaum on Using the National Pastime to Fight White Supremacy in St Louis

Monday, January 25, 2021

6:15 PM-7:15 PM

Using the National Pastime to Fight White Supremacy in St. Louis

This lecture examines the desegregation of Major League Baseball (MLB) from a new angle. Much has been written about Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier on the field in 1947, but little is known about fans breaking similar barriers in the stands.

From 1920 to 1953, Sportsman's Park in St. Louis was home to two MLB teams and for most of that time, Black fans were not permitted in the grandstands, the best seats in the park and the ones closest to the action. In 1944, the two teams dropped their segregated seating policy due to decades of activism by Black fans, the influence of World War II, and the efforts of a city-sponsored interracial committee formed to prevent urban unrest.

Guest lecturer Seth Tannenbaum argues that activist fans cared about desegregating Sportsman's Park because sitting in the grandstand would allow them to demonstrate their middle-class status, which, through the politics of respectability, they hoped would further their efforts to gain access to civil rights in other arenas.

Seth S. Tannenbaum is a visiting assistant professor in the Department of History and Geography at the University of Central Oklahoma. Tannenbaum is a lifelong Philadelphian who earned his PhD in history from Temple University in 2019 and was a Visiting Scholar in the Department of History at Drexel University during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Contact Information

Sharon Eichelberger

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Online via Zoom.
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  • Everyone