Conspiracy of Silence by Chris Lamb
Sportswriters and the Long Campaign to Desegregate Baseball

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The campaign to desegregate baseball was one of the most important civil rights stories of the 1930s and 1940s. But most of white America knew nothing about this story because mainstream newspapers said little about the color line and less about the efforts to end it. Even today, as far as most Americans know, the integration of baseball revolved around Branch Rickey’s signing of Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers’ organization in 1945. This book shows how Rickey’s move, critical as it may well have been, came after more than a decade of work by black and left-leaning journalists to desegregate the game.
Drawing on hundreds of newspaper articles and interviews with journalists, Chris Lamb reveals how differently black and white newspapers, and black and white America, viewed racial equality. He shows how white mainstream sportswriters perpetuated the color line by participating in what their black counterparts called a “conspiracy of silence.” Between 1933 and 1945, black newspapers and the Communist Daily Worker published hundreds of articles and editorials calling for an end to baseball’s color line. The efforts of the alternative presses to end baseball’s color line, chronicled for the first time in Conspiracy of Silence, constitute one of baseball’s—and the civil rights movement’s—great untold stories.

About Chris Lamb

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Chris Lamb, a professor of media studies at the College of Charleston, in Charleston, South Carolina, is the author of Blackout: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Spring Training, available in a Bison Books edition.
Published April 1, 2012 by University of Nebraska Press. 416 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Sports & Outdoors, History. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Owners drew a color line in the sand (there was no written proscription), then spent decades denying there was such a line, spewing out disingenuous excuses about the abilities of blacks, the fear of race riots and the problem of having black players train in the Jim Crow South.

Jan 30 2012 | Read Full Review of Conspiracy of Silence: Sports...


Local author Chris Lamb will be signing his two recent books this Saturday, Aug. 26.From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Blue Bicycle Books (420 King St in Charleston), purchasers can have Lamb personalize their copies of...

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New York Journal of Books

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“Conspiracy of Silence offers overwhelming evidence of the effectiveness of the black press in advancing integration in this country.”

Apr 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Conspiracy of Silence: Sports...