Brownlow's Black Boys Base Ball Club on 16 September 1866
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|Date of Game||Sunday, September 16, 1866|
|Location||Nashville, TN, United States|
|Field||Sulphur Spring Bottom|
|Home Team||Brownlow's Black Boys Base Ball Club|
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On Sunday September 16, 1866, 16 African American men (and one white one) were caught playing baseball at Nashville's Sulfur Spring Bottom, and were fined $5-9 for not respecting the sabbath. On the following Tuesday, the Nashville Daily Union and American published two separate accounts of the incident, both times referring to the men as belonging to "Brownlow's Black Boys Base Ball Club." That name clearly refers to William Brownlow, governor of Tennessee at the time, and a former minister and newspaper editor from East Tennessee. A unionist before and during the war, as governor Brownlow was a Radical Republican who favored extending civil rights for African-Americans and limiting them for ex-Confederates. As a result of his radical policies, Brownlow was not well liked by Nashville's white elite, and it's possible the name was the product of a newspaperman's dry wit.
A second newspaper article, this time published in the Republican Banner, also describes the incident, but without naming the team. However, it does list by name all 17 men involved, along with the fines listed for each person.
Tragically, the Nashville Recorder's Court records for 1866 are no longer extant, so we may never know the extent to which the Brownlow's Black Boys Base Ball Club was an actual team.
"Recorder's Court." Daily Union and American [Nashville, TN], 18 Sept., 1866: 3. Web, Chronicling America. 11 Apr. 2014. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85038519/1866-09-18/ed-1/seq-3/
"The Five B's C Stars." Daily Union and American [Nashville, TN], 18 Sept., 1866: 3. Web, Chronicling America. 11 Apr. 2014. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85038519/1866-09-18/ed-1/seq-3/
"A Freedman's Club." Republican Banner [Nashville, TN], 18 Sept., 1866.
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|Found by||Christopher Ryland|
|Entered by||Christopher Ryland|
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|Local-Origins Study Groups||Tennessee Association of Vintage Base Ball|
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