Baseball and Barbed Wire

World War II’s forced relocation of 120,000 law abiding Japanese American citizens into concentration camps remains a blot on American history. Although stripped of their possessions, livelihoods, and civil rights, these Americans refused to give up their pride, their culture, their commitment to family and their dignity. And, they refused to give up baseball.

The Japanese American prisoners brought a love of the game and a long tradition of baseball with them to the camps. Some knew how to build and irrigate the baseball fields. Others were experienced semi-pro managers or players. Women and men, boys and girls alike played baseball or softball. Teams and leagues were formed. With great ingenuity, even uniforms and equipment were cobbled together. And everybody was a fan.

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Crime of the Big Leagues: Lester Rodney

A mini-doc about Lester Rodney, the unsung hero who helped desegregate Major League Baseball Narrated by baseball legends Vida Blue and Marty Lurie

We know a lot about how major league baseball was strictly segregated before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947. But strangely, few of us know much about the decade-long, fierce, organized efforts to bring that about. Lester Rodney, sports editor and writer for New York’s Communist Party newspaper The Daily Worker, made it his crusade beginning in 1936. This riveting 10-minute film, much of it in Lester Rodney’s own words, tells about the man, his passion for baseball, why he fought for equal treatment of “Negro” ball players, and his perspective on the far reaching impact of baseball’s desegregation.

Enjoy this eye-opening mini-documentary about Lester Rodney (1911-2009), the unsung hero who helped desegregate Major League Baseball, narrated by baseball legends Vida Blue and Marty Lurie.