University of Georgia Shows the Oldest Known Movie of Blacks Playing Baseball

Pebble-Hill-BaseballMargaret Compton, a film archivist at the University of Georgia, recently discovered what is believed to be the earliest known moving images of African Americans playing baseball. The 26-second film of African Americans at the Pebble Hill Plantation near Thomasville, Georgia, was recently screened at the 26th Annual Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture, co-sponsored by the State University of New York College at Oneonta and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Compton’s research has dated the film around 1919.

“To date, we have not heard of any earlier film footage of blacks playing baseball, nor have we heard of any other existing plantation employees’ baseball games on film, but we are always hoping to find more,” Compton said. “Showing the film at the Cooperstown Symposium helps spread the word to scholars and enthusiasts who can join in the search.”

The Pebble Hill Plantation was a hunting preserve bought in 1896 as a winter home by Howard Melville Hanna of Cleveland, Ohio. Many similar plantations in Georgia and North Florida had baseball teams made up of their Black employees. The plantation is now a museum and can be leased for weddings and corporate events.

Related Articles

1 COMMENT

  1. This is a glorious find. As a researcher on the National College Baseball Hall of Fame’s Black College Baseball Legends and Pioneers Committee, I would love to view and look into the lives of these players. Ask if they played early college or HBCU baseball for our purposes.

    Please feel free to contact myself or the National College Baseball Hall of Fame.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Black Film Project and Film Studies Fellowships Established at Harvard University

Henry Louis Gates Jr., professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, will direct the newly established Black Film Project, an initiative aiming to support independent films focusing on Black history and culture.

Higher Education Grants or Gifts of Interest to African Americans

Here is this week’s news of grants or gifts to historically Black colleges and universities or for programs of particular interest to African Americans in higher education.

Yale Library Acquires Digital Collection of Langston Hughes Papers

In a recent December upload, the Yale University Library added a collection of papers from Black poet Langston Hughes to the school's online archive. The collection contains correspondence between Hughes and other authors and civil rights activists of his time.

Academic Fields Where Blacks Earned Few or No Doctoral Degrees in 2022

In 2022, African Americans earned 1.2 percent of all mathematics and statistics doctorates, 1.2 percent of all doctorates in computer science, 1.7 percent of all doctorates in chemistry, and only 1.7 percent of all doctorates awarded in engineering disciplines.

Featured Jobs