MetroFocus

“THE OTHER BOYS OF SUMMER”

Transcript

>> THEY WERE PIONEERS IN A
LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN PLAYING
AMERICA'S FAVORITE PASTIME.
BASEBALL LEGEND JACKIE ROBINSON
BROKE BASEBALL'S COLOR BARRIER
IN 1947 WHEN HE WENT TO PLAY FOR
THE BROOKLYN DODGERS.
NOW A NEW DOCUMENTARY "THE OTHER
BOYS OF SUMMER" INTRODUCES US TO
THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE NEGRO
LEAGUE.
EVEN AS THEY FACED RACISM AND
SEGREGATION, THEY STILL FOUND
THE PASSION TO PLAY.
HERE'S A PREVIEW.
§
>> EVERY YEAR, BASEBALL SEASON
COMES ALONG, I WAS READY TO GO.
THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT THAT
GAME OF BASEBALL THAT JUST GETS
INTO YOUR BLOODY GUESS.
.
>> I SAY SEGREGATION NOW,
SEGREGATION TOMORROW, AND
SEGREGATION FOREVER.
>> I RECEIVED A BASEBALL
SCHOLARSHIP TO NORTH CAROLINA
A & T STATE UNIVERSITY IN
GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA.
THAT WAS A RUDE AWAKENING FOR ME
BECAUSE HAD I NEVER BEEN SOUTH
BEFORE.
>> JOINING ME NOW IS THE FILM'S
DIRECTOR LAUREN MEYER.
LAUREN, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.
>> THANK YOU.
>> I HEAR THESE STORIES OF WHAT
IT WAS LIKE TO PLAY IN A
SEGREGATED LEAGUE OF AMERICA'S
FAVORITE PASTIME WAS SO
FASCINATING.
WHAT DREW YOU TO THE FILM?
>> I WAS INTERESTED IN PURSUING
THE STORY BECAUSE TO ME RACISM
AND SEGREGATION NEVER MADE
SENSE.
CLEARLY WE KNOW IT EXISTS.
YOU LEARN ABOUT IT GROWING UP IN
SCHOOL BUT THE CONCEPT OF WHAT
MADE SOMEBODY LEAVE A CERTAIN
BASED ON COLOR OF THEIR SKIN
SHOULDN'T BE ALLOWED TO SIT
SOMEWHERE OR EAT SOMEWHERE OR
TRAVEL TO A CERTAIN LOCATION,
THAT TO ME NEVER MADE SENSE AS A
WHITE WOMAN, I CAN'T WALK IN
THEIR SHOES.
SO WHAT I WANTED TO DO WAS
EXPLORE WHAT THAT WOULD BE LIKE
TO PURSUE YOUR DREAM IN I
SEGREGATED AMERICA.
>> WHAT WAS IT THAT YOU WERE
FINDING FROM SOME OF THESE
PLAYERS THAT DROVE THEM TO
CONTINUE DESPITE ALL THE
OBSTACLES?
>> IT'S INTERESTING.
IT WAS THEIR PASSION FOR THE
SORT OF BASEBALL.
THEY WILL PLAYED BECAUSE THEY
LOVED THE GAME.
THEY DIDN'T SET OUT TO CHANGE
AMERICA.
THEY DIDN'T SET OUT TO INTEGRATE
BASEBALL.
WHAT THEY DID WAS THEY WANTED TO
PURSUE THEIR DREAMS AND THEIR
DREAM HAPPENED TO BE BASEBALL.
SO IT WAS VERY INTERESTING THAT
EVERY SINGLE PLAYER I
INTERVIEWED I ASKED THEM DIDN'T
IT MAKE YOU ANGRY EVERYTHING YOU
HAD TO GO THROUGH AND WAY YOU
WERE TREATED.
100% OF THEM RESPOND THE SAME
WAY.
THEY ALL SAID NO, IT'S JUST THE
WAY THINGS WERE.
IT WAS A DIFFERENT TIME.
SO THEIR LACK OF BITTERNESS AND
ANGER IS THE THING THAT STOOD
OUT THE MOST TO ME.
>> IF THE NEGRO LEAGUE SKILL
LEVEL WAS EQUAL TO MAJOR LEAGUE
BASEBALL.
SO WHAT THEY UNDERSTOOD WAS THAT
THEY WERE PLAYING AT THE TOP
LEVEL.
NOW, THEY WEREN'T VERY HAPPY
ABOUT HAVING TO PLAY IN THEIR
OWN LEAGUE BUT THE ROBE THE
LEAGUE EXISTED WAS BECAUSE THEY
WANTED TO PLAY THE GAME.
SO EVEN THOUGH THEY WILL WERE
EXCLUDED FROM MAJOR LEAGUE
BASEBALL, THEY WOULD STILL PLAY
IN STADIUMS, FOR EXAMPLE, THEY
WOULD PLAY AT YANKEE STADIUM ON
SUNDAYS SOMETIMES.
ONLY WHEN THE YANKEES WERE OUT
OF TOWN ON A SUNDAY WERE THEY
ALLOWED TO PLAY BUT THEY COULD
DRAW 20,000, 30,000 PEOPLE TO
YANKEE STADIUM.
SO THEY HAD THE EXPERIENCE OF
PLAYING BIG-TIME BASEBALL BUT IT
DEFINITELY WAS NOT THE SAME AS
PLAYING IN THE MAJORS.
>> SOME OF THE BIGGEST STARS
CAME FROM THE NEGRO LEAGUES NOT
JUST JACKIE ROBINSON, SATCHEL
PAGE, ET CETERA.
WHAT WAS THE REACTION ONCE THAT
STARTED HAPPENING, ONCE THE
NEGRO LEAGUES STARTED TO
DETERIORATE?
>> WHEN JACKIE WAS SIGNED BY THE
DONORS THAT WAS THE BEGINNING OF
THE END OF THE NEGRO LEAGUES.
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL STARTED
HAND PICKING THE TOP PLAYERS.
IT DIMINISHED THE
COMPETITIVENESS OF THE NEGRO
LEAGUES NOT BASED ON THEIR
PASSION TO PLAY BUT BASED ON THE
TOP PLAYERS WERE NOW PLAYING FOR
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL.
BECAUSE OF THAT, A LOT OF THE
FANS THEN WOULD NO LONGER NEED
TO GO WATCH THE NEGRO LEAGUE
GAMES BECAUSE THEIR FAVORITE
PLAYER WAS PLAYING FOR THE
DODGERS OR CLEVELAND.
>> THIS WAS ABOUT THE MEN AND
WOMEN.
TELL ME WHAT ROLE THAT WOMEN
PLAYED IN THE NEGRO LEAGUES.
>> THERE WERE THREE WOMEN WHO
PLAYED BRIEFLY BASEBALL IN THE
NEGRO LEAGUES.
I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO THE
INTERVIEW THE LAST SURVIVING
PLAYER, MAMIE PEANUT JOHNSON.
SHE PLAYED FOR THE INDIANAPOLIS
CLOWNS AND WHELZ I INTERVIEWED
HER, SHE SHARED A REALLY
INTERESTING STORY WITH ME.
SHE WAS ABOUT 18 YEARS OLD AND
PLAYING ON A SEMI PRO TEAM AT
THE TIME AND SHE SAW A LITTLE AD
IN THE PAPER FOR THEY WERE
LOOKING FOR PEOPLE TO TRY OUT
FOR THE ALL-AMERICAN GIRLS
PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL LEAGUE.
SHE AND HER BEST FRIEND GOT ON A
BUS AND TRAVELED TO THE TRYOUT.
WHEN SHE GOT THERE, SHE WAS
DENIED BECAUSE OF THE COLOR OF
HER SKIN AND THERE WASN'T
ANYTHING SHE COULD DO.
SO SHE GOT BACK ON THE BUS AND
WENT BACK TO WASHINGTON, D.C.
EITHER THAT DAY OR NEXT DAY, A
SCOUT WAS AT A GAME AND
APPROACHED HER AFTER THE GAME
AND SAID HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO
PLAY FOR THE INDIANAPOLIS
CLOWNS.
BECAUSE SHE WAS DENIED ACCESS TO
PLAY EMPTY WOMEN'S LEAGUE, SHE
WAS GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO
PLAY THE IN THE NEGRO LEAGUES.
>> WHAT'S THE BIG TAKE AWAY THAT
YOU WOULD WANT PEOPLE TO COME
AWAY FROM THIS FILM WITH?
>> THE REASON I'M GETTING THIS
FILM OUT THERE, I WANT TO
PRESERVE THE LEGACY BECAUSE
THESE WERE TRUE CIVIL RIGHTS
TRAILBLAZER, NOT JUST ATHLETES,
I WANT TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER.
IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT TORN
PROVIDE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR
PEOPLE TO COME TOGETHER AND
WATCH SOMETHING THAT CAN RELATE
TO THINGS HAPPENING TODAY AND
LASTLY, I REALLY WANT TO INSPIRE
PEOPLE.
I THINK THAT THESE STORIES OFTEN
A GREAT ALTERNATIVE TO WHAT
WE'RE BOMBARDED WITH DAILY.
>> THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR MAKING
THIS FILM AND BOB ALL TO COLLECT
THESE STORIES.
>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.
>> FOR VIEWING INFORMATION ON
THE OTHER BOYS OF SUMMER" VISIT
OUR WEBSITE AT METROFOCUS.ORG.
FRZ


URL: https://www.thirteen.org/metrofocus/2019/06/the-other-boys-of-summer/