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African American Clubs Play in NJ

Salience Prominent
Tags African Americans
Location Greater New York City
City/State/Country: Newark, NJ, United States
Game Base Ball

"BASE BALL -- A match game of Base Ball was played between the St. John's and Union Clubs (colored) yesterday afternoon.  Two innings were played when it commenced to rain.  The St. John's Club made ten runs and the Union Club only two.  The game is to be played again on Friday at 2 o'clock, on the grounds of the St. John's Club, foot of Chestnut Street."


Newark Daily Mercury, October 24, 1855.

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Is this the first known report of African American club play of the New York game?

See Supplemental Text, below, for John Zinn's view on this question. 

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Submitted by John Zinn
Submission Note Email of September 6, 2011
Has Supplemental Text Yes


<comments voting="Plus" />

Supplemental Text

On 9/122018, John Zinn replied to a 19CBB posting from Bob Tholkes as to the likelihood that this game was played by modern rules:



The evidence, such as it is, as follows:

By the date of this game (10/23/1855), there were four white clubs in Newark playing the New York game. Two of them had played a game in May that used other rules or some hybrid, but over the summer, it was clearly the New York game.

While there is evidence (all of it retrospective) that non-New York games were played in New Jersey before 1855, there is no evidence of there being any organized clubs doing so.

Based on this, I think it's reasonable to believe that a group of Newark black residents formed the St. John's Club following on the example of their white counterparts to play the New York game.