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African-americans Newsbeat

Friday, November 06, 2015

Q&A with Neftalie Williams, Research Director of The African American Experience in Major League Baseball Project

An editor over at Sport in American History just published an interview with Neftalie Williams, the Research Director of the African Americans in MLB Project. This project is aimed at gathering oral history interviews from African Americans who played pro baseball, especially those who played in the MLB. In the interview, Williams explains his role in the project, goals for the future, and some excellent bits of interviews he’s conducted in the past year with former ballplayers and managers like Willie Wilson, Frank White, and Dusty Baker.

I think that that’s why they open up. I don’t have an agenda. I’m not trying to prove — there’s a perfect example of this — whether or not Dick Allen had a bad attitude or if something bad happened in the clubhouse. I’m just asking them how it was in their shoes. I think that provides information for the public, and provides information for historians, because then you at least have both sides of the argument.

Oh yes, we do talk about the Negro Leagues. It just depends on the player and how close they were in that time, or how close they were to the people who came up in them. But they all have reverence for the players before them. They all talk about Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, Cool Papa Bell. That’s who they hold in esteem, the guys who came before them. The perfect example is Willie Wilson because Willie was just right outside of that. Willie is great. Like all of those guys, no matter how cool a person might think that they are inside, or their ego, they say those guys did it for us. And they carried all of those things. They carried black lives on their backs. And so for me, that’s something that’s really important. Those guys set the tone and played when there was no money, they played for the love it, and then those who came through the Negro Leagues and helped integrate baseball, you know, they just hold them all in reverence.

joshtothemaxx Posted: November 06, 2015 at 11:06 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: african-americans, history, interview, oral history, project



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