What did the baseball glove say to the ball? “Catch ya later!” No seriously. In a creative effort to maintain the “educational facts” momentum during Black History Month, I want to touch base on how much sports contributed to a good chunk of my very own home town, Monroe, Louisiana’s, history. As I meditated on which vigorous activity to elaborate on, the notion of a baseball kept getting bigger and bigger, until it hit me! Ladies and gentleman, researchers and scholars, may I introduce : The Monroe Louisiana Monarchs!
- The Start of It All.
They were organized by Fred Alonzo Stovall, a Dallas, Texas scholar, who developed his own oil drilling operation after disconnecting from Spindletop , a pre-established oil refinery in Jefferson County, Texas. He eventually went on to create a recreational center , Casino Park, in Monroe, La , that housed not only a baseball field, but a swimming pool and more. Shortly after he became the capitalizer of the Negro Southern League.
2. Brief Insight
Occasionally located on Renwick Street here in Monroe, the Monroe Louisiana Monarchs, or Monroe Monarchs for short, were a group of black men, skilled in sport, that formed an all black baseball team. Their geographical location not only helped the popularity of southern leagues, but it played a role in the race warfare during the 1930’s. According to Paul Letlow, a University of Louisiana at Monroe alumni, and sportswriter, fans black and white, were allowed to sit together during games. The team ran during the late 20’s, to the mid 1930’s. They played in a baseball world series, had combined credited wins of over 25, and even induced two documented hall-of-famers during their reign. One being Willard Brown of Shreveport Louisiana and the other, Hilton Smith who also played for the team in 1932.
- The Ninth Inning
A successful baseball league pioneer in Louisiana, a “colored” one at that, their team has made its mark in history, and rightfully so! From contributing to the demise of racial barriers in Monroe, La, to having other accomplished connections out of state in Missouri, this fraction of the Negro Leagues has exceeded above all expectations. And with grace, to conclude this historical fragment, I am excited to declare that as of Wednesday, December 16th, 2020, Negro League Baseball has been adjudged a Major League. Their success is truly out of the park.By: Rhiana Thomas