Fleet Walker's Divided Heart: The Life of Baseball's First Black Major Leaguer

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U of Nebraska Press, Feb 1, 1998 - Sports & Recreation - 169 pages
Moses Fleetwood Walker was the first black American to play baseball in a major league. But Walker is more than a footnote: his life demonstrates both the devastation of racism and the role of baseball as a symbol of the nation. Walker achieved college baseball stardom while he was a student at Oberlin College in the 1880s. As Walker's athletic ability earned success on the playing field, racial attitudes were hardening and segregation was becoming the pattern of American society, both on the field and off. Teammates as well as opponents harassed him; Cap Anson, the Chicago White Stockings star, is credited with driving Walker and the few other blacks in the major leagues out of the game but could not have done so alone. Walker's life was defined as much by the fact that he was part white as it was by his black heritage. His attempts to reconcile his Anglo and African aspects left him in glorious disarray. Although acquitted of a murder on the grounds of self-defense, he eventually served time in prison on a federal mail robbery conviction. A gifted athlete, an inventor, a civil rights activist, an author, and an entrepreneur, Walker lived precariously along the fault lines of America's racial dilemma. He died in 1924 after a life of thwarted ambition and talent, frustrated by both the American dream and the national pastime.

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FLEET WALKER'S DIVIDED HEART: The Life of Baseball's First Black Major Leaguer

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A biography of—and tract on—Moses Fleetwood Walker, baseball's first black big-league star. Walker was born in 1857 to a modestly prosperous family living in the relatively liberal and integrated ... Read full review

Fleet Walker's divided heart: the life of baseball's first black major leaguer

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Many baseball fans recognize the name Moses Fleetwood Walker as the answer to the trivia question: Who was the first black man to play in the major leagues? However, Zang's study clearly demonstrates ... Read full review


List of Illustrations ix
Into the Fire 26
Left Like Alexander Without a World to Conquer 48
Chamade 90
End Credits
Epilogue 126
Bibliographical Essay 149

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About the author (1998)

David W. Zang has taught sports studies and American studies at the University of Maryland, The Pennsylvania State University, and Towson University.

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