Back in the latter 19th century, African American athletes often played on baseball teams alongside whites. But segregation took an ugly turn in the dawning days of the 20th century and black players were barred through Jim Crow laws.
Undaunted, black teams were formed across America. The first organized league structure was conceived in Kansas City in 1920, and thus was born the Negro National League, followed by eastern and southern leagues.
The decline of the Negro Leagues began in 1945 when the Brooklyn Dodgers recruited Jackie Robinson, a player for the Kansas City Monarchs.
The Bob Kendricks interview--previously broadcast on NPR affiliate KCBX and posted as a Journeys podcast, February 19, 2020, February 2, 2018, and February 10, 2016-- is shared again as a timeless, "best-of-the-best" Journeys of Discovery show spanning the past 31 years.