How a North Dakota team broke baseball's colour line


In the 1930s baseball, like much of the rest of US society, was racially segregated.

African-American players joined separate teams and played in their own leagues with their own followers.

It would be another decade before Jackie Robinson, in 1947, famously broke the sport's colour barrier and become the first black athlete to play for a Major League Baseball team: the Brooklyn Dodgers.

But out on the fringes of America, on the great plains of North Dakota, one man with a passion for baseball decided to field the best team he could in order to triumph in the regional "semi-pro" games.

The Bismarcks - with six white and six black players - stand out in America's social and cultural history as one of the earliest examples of sportsmen of different races competing together.

Tom Dunkel, author of Color Blind, told the BBC about the team's remarkable story.

Produced by the BBC's David Botti, Pia Gadkari and Lynsea Garrison.

Photo/video: British Pathé, Getty Images, Library of Congress, Institute for Regional Studies and University Archives State Historical Society of North Dakota, and courtesy Tom Dunkel.

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