Michael Charles Fulwiler. Baseball and Black Identity: Imagined Community, Baseball Literature, and the Integration of Major League Baseball. Honors Thesis, University of Washington. 2012.
Over the past century, sport has occupied a dominant position within American culture in producing ideas of racial difference while providing a powerful and public modality for forms of black cultural resistance. Ben Carrington, an American cultural theorist and leader in the growing field of sports sociology, argues that "sport reproduces race." According to Carrington, in the past century, "sport has become an important if somewhat overlooked arena for the making of race beyond its own boundaries" (3). With baseball at the forefront, at least since the beginning of the 20th century, sports have provided "an opportunity for blacks throughout the African diaspora to gain recognition through physical struggle…for their humanity in a context where the structures of the colonial state continue to shape the ‘post/colonial' present." In this essay, I use Benedict Anderson's theoretical model of "Imagined Communities," reinforced by Stuart Hall's model of cultural identity and diaspora, to argue for the way in which narratives of black baseball display and explain the shared sense of African American community and identity that was created and strengthened by baseball in the early 20th century.