Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Treasures from the Vertical Files: Atlanta Black Crackers Ad

Today’s treasure from the vertical files is an advertisement for the Atlanta Black Crackers from the June 14, 1939 edition of the Atlanta Daily World. It is a fitting theme for this week as it coincides with the end of the 2010 World Series. The ad was placed by Coca-Cola to market their product at games and to wish the team luck. The ad also includes three signatures, which are assumed to be those of team players, whose identities are unknown at this time. In addition to the ad, page five includes various articles detailing the season opening of the Black Crackers, or “Black Crax,” as the Atlanta Daily World called the team.

The League of Colored Baseball Clubs was formed in 1887 as a response to the National Association of Baseball Players banning of black players from its white league in 1867. During this period, black baseball teams in Atlanta found their beginnings at historically African American universities, including what was then Atlanta University and Clark University. The first black professional team in Atlanta, the Deppens, also formed before the start of the twentieth century. The Atlanta Cubs, a semiprofessional team of black college students, succeeded the Deppens and changed their name to the Atlanta Black Crackers in 1919. The team joined the Negro Southern League in 1919 and continued to represent Atlanta in that league until 1937.

Teams in African American leagues, including the Black Crackers, were often plagued by financial difficulty and continually found themselves under new ownership. One reason behind financial problems was the inability to sell out games because of segregation, which did not allow mixed crowds. After Reverend John Harden and his wife purchased the Black Crackers in 1938, the team later became part of the Negro American League. A year later, when the team was sold to Indianapolis, it played under the nickname ABC’s. Soon after, in 1940, a new Atlanta Black Crackers team formed. The demise of the Negro baseball leagues and their teams, including the Black Crackers, began in the mid twentieth century once the all-white major league was integrated.


Darnell, Tim. “Atlanta Black Crackers.” New Georgia Encyclopedia, 2006. http://dev.ngerr.gsu.edu/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-1966&hl=y

Heaphy, Leslie A. The Negro Leagues, 1869-1960. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2003.

Lanctot, Neil. Negro Baseball League: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004.

Posted by Nicole Carmolingo, AARL Archives Intern

1 comment:

  1. My name is Lamont Dodson, my grandmother name is Dora Dodson. She recently past March of 2011, she was 96. While going through and cleaning up her belongings I discovered a program from the July 4,1947 Negro League game. The teams were the Atlanta Black Crackers vs the Chattanooga Choo Choos. Also on the program it appears to be a signed signature from one of the players to my grandmother. The program is in great condition to be 64 years young. My e-mail address is lamont.dodson@cmsdnet.net.