Black baseball player sparks racist outrage in Gastonia

On this day in 1934: The American Legion baseball team from Springfield, Mass., withdraws from a tournament in Gastonia because of local resistance to its lone black player.

Ernest “Bunny” Taliaferro was barred from the team’s hotel, and the Charlotte Observer reports that “those in charge of the tournament would not guarantee the safety of the Springfield nine when it went on the field in the face of heckling and manifestations of hostility by the onlookers.”

Scorned and threatened in Gastonia, Taliaferro and the rest of team would return home to a heroes’ welcome. In 2003 a monument bearing all their names will be erected at the Springfield ballpark. And there’s even a children’s book.

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