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Sporting Justice

The Chatham Coloured All-Stars and Black Baseball in Southwestern Ontario, 1915–1958

By Miriam Wright
Subjects Sports & Recreation, Social Science, Multiculturalism, History, Canadian History
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Paperback : 9781771125840, 264 pages, August 2023
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781771125857, 264 pages, August 2023
Ebook (PDF) : 9781771125864, 264 pages, August 2023

Table of contents

1: Introduction
2: Living in a Racialized World: Chatham’s East End and the Black Community in the 1920s and 1930s
3: Origins: Early Black Baseball in Chatham, Buxton, and London, 1915-1927
4: A New Black Baseball Team in Chatham, 1933
5: Playing in Racialized Spaces: The 1934 Chatham City League Season
6: Becoming the All-Stars: The 1934 OBAA Championship
7: New Opportunities and Continued Racial Conflict in the 1935 Season
8: “All we ask is a fair break”: Baseball and Sporting Justice in the Chatham Coloured All-Stars’ Later Years
9: After the All-Stars: Racial Integration, and the Next Generation of Black Baseball, 1940-1958
10: Conclusion: Baseball and Memory: Reflecting on Race, Heroes, and the All-Stars Years


Although many know about Jackie Robinson’s experiences breaking major league baseball’s colour barrier in 1947, few are familiar with the Chatham Coloured All-Stars, a Black Canadian team from 1930s Ontario who broke racial barriers in baseball even earlier. In 1933, the All-Stars began playing in the primarily white world of organized amateur baseball. The following year, the All-Stars became the first Black team to win a provincial championship.
Sporting Justice begins with a look at a vibrant Black baseball network in southwestern Ontario and Michigan in the 1920s, which fostered the emergence of the Chatham Coloured All-Stars in the 1930s. It follows the All-Stars’ eight years as a team (1933-1940) as they navigated the primarily white world of amateur baseball, including their increasing resistance to racism and unfair treatment. After the team disbanded, Chatham Coloured All-Stars players in the community helped to racially integrate local baseball and supported new Black teams in the 1940s and 1950s.
While exploring the history of Black baseball in one southwestern Ontario community, this book also provides insights into larger themes in Canadian Black history and sport history including gender, class, social justice, and memory and remembrance.


  • Winner, CLIO Award - ONTARIO, Canadian Historical Association 2024