Pioneers on the playing field: Bruno’s first Black athletes and coaches

Posted in Articles, Biography, Campus Life, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-11-15 20:41Z by Steven

Pioneers on the playing field: Bruno’s first Black athletes and coaches

The Brown Daily Herald
Providence, Rhode Island

Peter Swope, Senior Staff Writer

Media by Courtesy Photos | The Brown Daily Herald

Looking back at Jackie Court, other Black trailblazers in Brown Athletics program

While today’s Brown Athletics program displays diversity among its coaches and athletes, this has not always been the case. Throughout the history of Brown Athletics, trailblazing Black athletes and coaches have battled racism and adversity to earn athletic achievements while helping to build a more equitable program. This week The Herald will feature baseball player William White, class of 1883, football player Fritz Pollard, class of 1919 and gymnastics coach Jackie Court, who each contributed to the development of Brown Athletics on and off the field.

“William Edward White was the first African-American to play in the professional baseball ranks,” according to Brown Athletics archivist Peter Mackie ’59. “He played one game for the Providence Grays … (few people know) about him, but if you look at a picture of that 1879 team, there he is.”

White was born in Milner, Georgia; his mother was a formerly enslaved African-American woman and his father was a wealthy white man. White and his siblings attended Moses Brown School before being accepted to Brown through a connection via a local Baptist church. As a dually-enrolled student, White was a first baseman for the Brown baseball team while still a senior at Moses Brown…

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