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Monday, April 2, 2012

Sneak Peek from the Stacks

Eddie Berry, Eddie Brooks, and [Art] Bevelry, 1936
Norman Davis Photographic Collection, gift of Norman B. Davis
This image of Anacostia ACs (athletic club) baseball players is contained in the Norman Davis Photographic collection.  It is among several photographs in the collection which document community and organized baseball teams in the District of Columbia, in particular, the Anacostia section of the city from 1930s to 1950s.  A recent acquisition, the Norman Davis Photographic collection contains images of Edward (Eddie) Berry, who played for the Anacostia ACs, Washington Aztecs, and the Hilldales [Hillsdale] teams.  The collection provides us with a glimpse into Washington, D.C.’s unique baseball history that goes back more than 150 years. Long before the Nationals brought professional baseball back to the city in 2005, baseball played out in District schoolyards and alleyways, as well as on the White House lawn. Washington, D.C., was home to the Senators, known for being “first in war, first in peace, and last in the American League.” In the mid-1900s Josh Gibson and the Homestead Grays also played on the Senators’ home field at Griffith Stadium, winning eight of nine Negro National League (NNL) pennants at one point.
Baseball really boomed in Washington following the Civil War, when thousands of men returned to the area from the battlefield and traded their rifles and canteens for bats and baseballs. Over the years Washington, D.C., has had black teams and white teams; professional teams and amateur teams; neighborhood teams and city-wide teams. Baseball has long been a part of Washington, D.C.’s social fabric— a sometimes unifying factor in a city struggling not only with its local/federal government identity but also with long-standing segregationist tendencies.

 The Norman Davis Photographic collection is being digitized so keep checking here for images of Edward Berry and other community baseball players!
Based on research for Separate and Unequaled:  Black Baseball in the District of Columbia.

Jennifer Morris
Anacostia Community Museum Archives

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