42, Wall Street and Black America:
If you have ever seen the movie 42 you may have reveled in its portrayal of Jackie Robinson as the “best thing to happen to black people”. But if you are like me you question otherwise. This is in no way a crack at the movie it self (great screenplay, cinematography and direction, all-around awesome movie), but at the “us MLB white folks did yall a favor letting that negro break the race barrier” mentality of this movie. Personally, *mentally prepare for threats in comment section* I think Jackie Robinson was the worst thing to happen to the black community. Before you try to rip me to pieces let me explain. Let’s travel back a little less than 100 years to the roaring twenties, just for some back ground. Greenwood, Tulsa, Oklahoma: home to Black wallstreet. The most prominent black community, home to many black businessmen and developing individuals. Ever growing, it was also home to many African American millionaires. Obviously it’s hard to see the negro community doing so well hense why it was burned to the grown. Just can’t see the black man be successful in a white mans society. But I digress. Now Let’s fast forward a quarter of a century to prime time negro baseball. See this is the thing, negro baseball games at this time where pulling more fans, more gross income than MLB games. While this is great for the NBL and the black communities that held these games (as they had to support the fans, therefore hotels restaurants and surrounding businesses began to boom) this was terrible for the MLB. I mean really, when you go to an MLB game you see baseball, go to a negro game you see baseball.. And then some. Baseball by negros. They were pulling black fans and white fans alike. The MLB and its board saw this as a threat. And so did society. As the citizens of the black towns that hosted these games began to grow their businesses and more business came in, these cities grew exponentially. On the forefront we saw the formation of 13 or so black wall streets. This could not happen. So what did they do. Get rid of negro baseball, bring the income back to MLB and let these cities that no longer have an influx of fans to support, for lack of a better word. Die off. No more black wall streets. You know there had to be some administrative back closet, closed door meeting on how to accomplish this. And what better to do than to merge, but it had to be perfect. I mean look Jackie Robinson was not the best in negro baseball… Middle heat at most. But he had the perfect attitude and mentality to fit the profile of the one who would be the start of the merge. So they bring in one, Jackie. Then another, then another and soon after the negro baseball league. You can view this as a step forward for equality in the long run (which it very well is) but you can also view it for what it did in the short run.
Joni Perkins (June 2015)