President Obama honored former Negro League baseball players Monday for their important contribution to history and civil rights.
Several male and female Negro League veterans were invited to the White House as a gesture of thanks for their role in paving the way for African-Americans in professional sports. Some of the teams represented at the White House included the New York Black Yankees, Philadelphia Stars, and the Boston Blues.
Minnie Forbes, the only living female owner of a Negro League team, compared how different the White House event was to the conditions teams faced in the 1940s and 50s.
“It’s just wonderful to see the president, and to know where we came from– we weren’t able to travel and to sleep in hotels and to eat in restaurants,” said Forbes, who owned the Detroit Stars. “Now we’re able to come to the White House and see the president.”
The Negro League saw great success in the early 20th century but soon declined when Jackie Robinson paved the way for African-Americans to play Major League Baseball, becoming the first to do so in 1947. The Negro League dissolved shortly after.