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In the spring of 1946, following the defeat of Hitler’s Germany, America found itself still struggling with the subtler but no less insidious tyrannies of racism and segregation at home. In the midst of it all, Jackie Robinson, a full year away from breaking major league baseball’s color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers, was undergoing a harrowing dress rehearsal for integration—his first spring training as a minor league prospect with the Montreal Royals, Brooklyn’s AAA team. In Blackout, Chris Lamb tells what happened during these six weeks in segregated Florida—six weeks that would become a critical juncture for the national pastime and for an American society on the threshold of a civil rights revolution.

Blackout chronicles Robinson’s tremendous ordeal during that crucial spring training—how he struggled on the field and off. The restaurants and hotels that welcomed his white teammates were closed to him, and in one city after another he was prohibited from taking the field. Steeping his story in its complex cultural context, Lamb describes Robinson’s determination and anxiety, the reaction of the black and white communities to his appearance, and the unique and influential role of the press—mainstream reporting, the alternative black weeklies, and the Communist Daily Worker—in the integration of baseball. Told here in detail for the first time, this story brilliantly encapsulates the larger history of a man, a sport, and a nation on the verge of great and enduringchange.

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The story of Jackie Robinsin's first spring training as a minor league prospect with the Montreal Royals, Brooklyn's AAA team, in segregated Florida.

About the Author

Chris Lamb is a professor of journalism at the Indiana University School of Journalism, Indianapolis.


"Lamb's detailed and annotated research provides an in-depth examination of an important step in the integration of baseball, a step that, up until now, has not received the coverage it deserves. Of interest both to baseball fans and social historians." Booklist "Lamb tells what Robinson faced in 1946 in segregated Florida--six weeks that would become a critical juncture for the national pastime and for an American society on the threshold of a civil rights revolution." Dermot McEvoy, Publishers Weekly "An important contribution to American Studies." Choice "In his richly sourced examination of Robinson's first spring training, Lamb puts readers on the back of a hot Greyhound bus as it makes its way through the Jim Crow South of the mid-1940s... Throughout the book Lamb carefully documents who wrote what, analyzing the black press, mainstream dailies, the Daily Worker, a national newspaper for communists, and even southern newspapers. This comprehensiveness in sources is unprecedented in examinations of press coverage of Robinson's life or career, making it a good investment for researchers in the field based on its footnotes alone. The book also deserves credit for turning attention to the black sportswriters who, as the author writes, 'faced their own color line. They were denied press cards, which meant they were prohibited from Major League baseball fields, dugouts, and locker rooms.'" American Journalism

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