Lesson Plan

Major League Baseball and the Negro Leagues: Correcting an Injustice

1930-31 Homestead Grays Negro League Team

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GRADE LEVEL: Middle School, High School

COMMON CORE STANDARDS: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, Language

SEL STANDARDS*: Self-Awareness, Social Awareness, Responsible Decision-Making

Baseball and Segregation

In December 2020, Major League Baseball (MLB) announced that they will correct a longtime injustice in the game’s history by officially elevating the Negro Leagues (of 1920-1948) to “Major League” status. For historical context, in the late 1800’s, Black professional baseball players were banned from playing in the major leagues and were forced to form their own “Negro Leagues.”

Counting Players of the Negro Leagues Where They Belong

In making this decision, Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said: “All of us who love baseball have long known that the Negro Leagues produced many of our game’s best players, innovations and triumphs against a backdrop of injustice. We are now grateful to count the players of the Negro Leagues where they belong: as Major Leaguers within the official historical record.”

About the Lesson Plan

This lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn more about the Negro Leagues and the segregation that forced a separate league, reflect on their perspectives regarding the decision by MLB, and write an essay that expresses their point of view.

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will learn about some of the history of the Negro Leagues and the segregation of Black players.
  • Students will reflect on their opinions about the MLB decision to make some Negro League player statistics part of MLB history.
  • Students will express their point of view with evidence through the writing of an essay.

Student Direct Resource

Use our Sutori version of this lesson for direct student learning.