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Negro Baseball League Timeline

The Negro Baseball Leagues were professional leagues in the United States for players of African descent. At its height of popularity--from 1920 through World War II--Negro Baseball Leagues were an integral part of African-American life and culture during the Jim Crow Era. 

1859: The first documented baseball game between two African-American teams is played on November 15 in New York City.

The Henson Baseball Club of Queens played the Unknowns of Brooklyn. The Henson Baseball Club defeated the Unknowns, 54 to 43.

1885: The first African-American professional team is founded in Babylon, NY. They are named the Cuban Giants.

1887: The National Colored Baseball League is established, becoming the first professional African-American league. The league begins with eight teams--the Lord Baltimores, Resolutes, Browns, Falls City, Gorhams, Pythians, Pittsburgh Keystones, and the Capital City Club. However, within two weeks the National Colored Baseball League will cancel games as a result of poor attendance.

1890: The International League bans African-American players, which will last until 1946.

1896: The Page Fence Giants club is established by "Bud" Fowler. The club is considered one of the best teams in early African-American baseball history because players toured in their own railroad car and played against major league teams such as the Cincinnati Reds.

1896: The United States Supreme Court upholds Louisiana"s "separate but equal" laws concerning public facilities. This decision affirms racial segregation, de facto segregation and prejudice throughout the United States.

1896: The Page Fence Giants and Cuban Giants play a national championship. The Page Fence Club wins 10 out of 15 games.

1920: At the height of the Great Migration, Andrew "Rube" Foster, owner of the Chicago American Giants organizes a meeting with all the Midwest team owners in Kansas City. As a result, the Negro National League is established.

1920: On May 20, the Negro National League begins its first season with seven teams--the Chicago

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