The Chatham Coloured All-Stars, a Black baseball team from Chatham, Ontario was among a number of Black teams that joined white-dominated amateur leagues in the 1930s. The All-Stars developed a high profile in southwestern Ontario baseball over their eight years together which eventually gave them a space to demand more equitable treatment (with varying results). This talk considers those social justice themes while situating the All-Stars within the familial and community ties and networks vital to Black Canadian experiences and movements for change. Drawing on contemporary newspapers and oral histories conducted in the 1980s, Wright reflects on memory and the ways the former players and their family members made sense of that period in their lives.
Miriam Wright is an Associate Professor of History at University of Windsor. Her recent work has focused on race and sport in Canada, and on early 20th-century Chinese immigration to Newfoundland and Labrador. She co-directed the community-based public history project Breaking the Colour Barrier: Wilfred ‘Boomer’ Harding and the Chatham Coloured All-Stars which included a website launched in 2017. Her book, Sporting Justice: The Chatham Coloured All-Stars and Black Baseball in Southwestern Ontario, 1915-1958, was published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press in August, 2023.