Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Monrovians vs. the Klan

Last night, a couple hundred Wichitans gathered at the Hughes Metroplex to watch the premiere of the Dockum Sit-In documentary. After the viewing, the members of the NAACP Youth council of 1958 took the stage and answered questions from the audience. It was wonderful and informational event, and a well produced and thoroughly enjoyable documentary.

But one statement from last night's question and answer session has really intrigued me... In response to a question, Dr. Galyn Vessey referenced a baseball game that had taken place here in Wichita between an all Black minor league team called the Monrovians and the Ku Klux Klan. The Monrovians were named after the Capitol of Liberia and the announcement of the game was printed in the Wichita Beacon newspaper.

The game was played in June of 1925, and the Monrovians won that game by a score of 10 to 8.

I looked for information about the game on the net and I did find an article on the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum site: 

Even during the time that the Negro Leagues were formed, there were a number of "semi-professional" and community teams playing baseball all around the country. The Monrovians would have been among those lesser-known teams playing in southwestern Kansas and could have traveled to many places in the region. It was not uncommon for these teams to play against teams with white players and in majority white communities. How they may have been received in these towns varied from town to town. It is argued that Wichita was a rather "opened minded" community on race issues.

I am fascinated by this story. I have a million questions; I wonder how it was organized, how security was handled, were there ramifications were once the Monrovians had won, who made the contact, was it common for Klan lodges to have baseball teams  etc...  Do any of you have any information on this or similar games played around the country?

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