Black Memorabilia Drug Store Pharmacy Medical Apothecary Stonegate Antiques Stonegate Antiques
We ALWAYS offer FREE USPS STANDARD shipping to the 48 contiguous United States on items priced $100 or greater! Please note: Over-sized/heavy items either require special freight shipping or will incur additional carrier shipping costs and are exempt from free shipping offer.
Sort By:
All Items : Popular Collectibles : Memorabilia : Black Americana : Pre 1950 item #430442 (stock #BA530)
Stonegate Antiques
$225.00
Measuring just 10 inches in height, this diminutive, vintage 1940's, Mammy Bottle Doll is in near mint condition, with nicely detailed clothing and a very darling face!

Her cute face is composed of pearl button eyes with red fabric mouth. She wears a flowered bandanna and a pale blue apron over her pale blue patterned dress. Her clothes are odor and stain free and are nicely constructed--note fancy sleeve detail!

Just love her size!!! Odor-free---- ready to be displayed in your collection!! She is one of 3 offered bottle dolls all coming from the same estate--and all priced separately.

All Items : Popular Collectibles : Memorabilia : Black Americana : Pre 1900 item #860141 (stock #BA0000)
Stonegate Antiques
$40.00
Offered are five, VERY SELDOM found, 1880's & 1890's, Black Memorabilia-themed trade cards priced at $40.00 each or all 4 for $140.00.

The AYER'S Cathartic Pills card is copyrighted 1883 in the lower right front corner by the J.C. Ayer Company Company, Lowell, Massachusetts. This card is brilliantly colored with a phenomenal graphic of the Black "Country Doctor" holding a small child who clutches an Ayer's Pills advertisement in her hand. The reverse side carries a testimony to the wonder of the multitude of curative properties of Ayer's Pills. The card measures 2 5/8 inches x 4 3/4 inches.

The J.P. Coat's Company card is not copyrighted but is at the latest, a circa 1890's card, and features a smiling African-American boy seated on a spool of Coat's thread tickling a bright yellow shining sun. The card measures 3 inches x 4.50 inches. The reverse side is an advertisement for J.P. Coat's Fast Black Spool Cotton thread.

The Clarke's Spool Cotton Thread advertising card is SOLD. It measures 2.75 inches x 4 3/8 inches and features an African-American boy beating a drum which advertises Clarke's MILE-END Spool Cotton. The litho is marked on back "Donaldson Bros, Five Points, New York". The reverse side further advertises Clarke's Thread.

The fourth card is another J.P. Coat's Thread card depicting a humorous scene of an African-American couple attempting to move a very stubborn mule. The card measures 3 inches x 4.75 inches. It is copyrighted on the reverse 1881 by Auchincloss & Brothers, New York. The reverse side advertises the myriad of J.P. Coat's products.

The fifth card is another Clark's Mile-End Spool Cotton advertisement that features a humorous lithograph of a well-dressed African-American man being tripped by a young Caucasian boy holding Clark's super-strong thread, and measures 2.75 inches x 4.50 inches. The reverse side is a continuation of testimony and advertisement for the product.

All five trade cards are in very fine condition with nice color and some very subtle evidence of age staining as seen in photos. The cards have no rips, bends, or fading.

These seldom-found trade cards would look fabulous framed as a group!

As each is priced separately (see photos for pricing), please email us stating which item you wish to purchase so that we can customize your order form.

All Items : Popular Collectibles : Memorabilia : Black Americana : Pre 1950 item #674199 (stock #BA653)
Stonegate Antiques
$150.00
Measuring just 4.5" wide x 5.5" long, this very rarely found, circa 1940's, metal mechanical toy features the beloved Golliwogg character!

Unmarked, this toy is in very good condition with tiny superficial surface scratches wherever metal rubs metal during toy movement. To operate the toy, one simply squeezes the metal lever on the back, which causes the clown to hit poor Golly on the head with a mallet!

A brief history of the Golliwog doll: The Golliwog is based on a Black minstrel doll that the Victorian era illustrator, Florence Kate Upton, born in 1873, had played with as a small child in New York. Upton's Golliwog character was first introduced to the world in her 1895 book entitled The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls. Like the rag doll that inspired it, the Golliwog in her book was an ugly creature with very dark, jet black skin, large white-rimmed eyes, red clown lips, and wild, frizzy hair. Golliwogs are typically male and are generally dressed in a jacket, trousers, bow tie, and stand-up collar in a combination of red, white, blue, black, and occasionally yellow colors.

All Items : Popular Collectibles : Memorabilia : Black Americana : Pre 1930 item #1266374 (stock #BA916)
Stonegate Antiques
$275.00
Manufactured circa 1920's by the Wurts Creation Company, this scarcely-found, Black Chef, kitchen collectible doubles as both a string holder and a grocery list memo board!

Constructed of painted wood that is nailed and glued together, this vintage collectible retains quite a few of its original but yellowed-with-age grocery shopping list pages. The holder/board retains a ball of string and a stub of an older, red pencil. It also has an inkwell cut-out that would have accommodated a bottle of ink; presumably, an inkwell pen once resided beside it versus the current pencil.

The holder/board remains in all original condition with no repaint or repair. The black chef is not painted on but is a decal--all original. The pale blue paint has appropriate, minor, age-related wear as noted in photos.

Has great visual appeal and displays wonderfully!

All Items : Popular Collectibles : Memorabilia : Black Americana : Pre 1940 item #1113720 (stock #BA812)
Stonegate Antiques
$95.00
Offered are two, circa 1930's, Made in Japan, ceramic bisque, African-American, baby dolls. A very sweet pair, these dolls measure a diminutive 2.5 and 3.5 inches long. The larger doll is marked "Made in Japan", while the smaller is simply marked "JAPAN".

Both dolls retain their 3 original pigtails, all tied off with tiny pieces of string. Their hand-painted lips and eyes remain in excellent condition as is the dark brown paint which covers the bisque bodies which were originally white when manufactured (the white bisque coloring is visible at the joints).

Both dolls have jointed arms and legs which allow them to assume different positions. The string holding the larger doll's legs in place has stretched over these many years resulting in looser leg joints. (This can be repaired if so desired by the new owner.)

The larger doll is dressed in a hand-made outfit consisting of an ivory, yarn-knitted petticoat under a yellow crocheted dress while the smaller doll remains au naturalle! A darling, teeny tiny pair that display quite nicely!

All Items : Popular Collectibles : Memorabilia : Black Americana : Pre 1940 item #808328 (stock #BA728)
Stonegate Antiques
$175.00
Measuring 14 inches in height, this vintage 1920's, Mammy Bottle Doll is in well-loved condition, with completely hand-stitched clothing that has been recently laundered and carefully pressed.

Her interesting and expressive face is completely hand-stitched and bears a tiny hole in the center of her chin. A similar teeny hole may also be seen (see photo) on her back. Mammy wears a lacy bonnet detailed with tiny pleats and 2 ribbon flowers. Her pink skirt and blouse, also hand-stitched, is presented in various shades of pink as Mammy's outfit has been subjected to light over the years and is in places, quite faded. Although now clean, Mammy's clothing is speckled here and there with teeny dark pinpoint size spots, most particularly in the bust area. Her white apron is pristine and is accented with a small, non-functional pocket. Her lace bonnet is fragile and must be handled with care as it can tear easily.

Although her bottle frame is covered by a black stocking, the stocking has opened slightly under her skirt revealing her sand-filled milk bottle.

This wonderful, early bottle doll is one of 3 currently offered bottle dolls --- all priced separately.

All Items : Popular Collectibles : Memorabilia : Black Americana : Pre 1930 item #1224712 (stock #BA886)
Stonegate Antiques
$395.00
In the mid-1800's, an unknown artist painted the face of a young Black boy in warm, soft colors, and unbeknown to the artist, forever immortalized the young boy's image! Since that time a variety of items were been produced in the image of the "Young Black boy with the Torn Hat" or "Johnny Griffin".

This circa 1920-30's Johnny Griffin tie rack is constructed in solid brass. It remains functional for such use today; however, only two of the five original tie hooks remain.

It is in all original condition with fabulous patina- not a reproduction- no replaced parts- and measures 13 inches long.

Johnny Griffin Black Americana collectibles should form the cornerstone of any serious Black Memorabilia collection!

To see all of the Johnny Griffin items currently available for sale, simply type “Johnny Griffin” into the search box on our web home page.

All Items : Popular Collectibles : Memorabilia : Black Americana : Pre 1900 item #808062 (stock #BA727)
Stonegate Antiques
$575.00
An extraordinarily RARE 19th CENTURY piece of Black Americana advertising featuring a fabulous graphic of 2 young African American painters holding a "White-Wash Boy's Hydrated Lime" box.

This product was produced by the lime manufacturers, Hatmaker and Place, of Canaan, Connecticut, in the late 1800s. This small company was located within a large "lime belt" that stretched from Connecticut to Vermont. Back in the day, lime powder mixed with water was quite commonly used to "white wash" or paint numerous surfaces, and it was also used as a medicinal disinfectant! The manufacture of lime from marble was one of the earliest and most successful mineral industries in Connecticut, with historical records dating the establishment of the first CT lime manufactory to 1722.

Given its age and the fragility of paper, condition of this wonderful box is quite good. The lower portion of the back side of the box evidences light surface wear with some of the printing on the lower portion of the box worn away as a result. The front of the box has a 3.25 inch long tear which resulted in the loss of the lime powder from the box.

This early piece of Black Americana advertising is EXCEEDINGLY RARE and may well be a ONE-OF-A-Kind item! The Hatmaker and Place Company was one of a number of very small manufactories located within the "lime belt" that were ALL bought out and immediately closed down by a wealthy group of investors who then created and incorporated the mammoth monopoly, The New England Lime Company, early in 1902.

This fabulous piece of Black Americana is NOT to be missed by the serious collector!

All Items : Popular Collectibles : Memorabilia : Black Americana : Pre 1930 item #1224883 (stock #BA892)
Stonegate Antiques
$495.00
Measuring 12 inches high x 9 3/4 inches long x 6 inches wide, this extraordinarily rare, circa 1920's, Black Americana, wooden pull toy is called Shufflin' Sam!

Demonstrating some degree of age-related paint loss as seen in photos, Shufflin' Sam remains fully functional, shuffling his feet and twirling his blue umbrella when he is gently pulled along a flat surface. His manufacturer is unknown. On his base is written in ink, a very OLD price of $22.00!

The paint loss imperfections do not interfere with the toy's overall charming visual appeal! This exceptional toy has never been repaired or repainted; it remains in all-original condition!

Wooden toys were produced with less frequency than their tin counterparts and also tended to be less hardy, and thus, a far fewer number of them survive today as compared to the more frequently discovered tin and metal toys of the same era.

"Shufflin' Sam" is very RARELY found (The FIRST time I have ever been able to offer him!!!), and the opportunity to acquire him should not be overlooked!

All Items : Popular Collectibles : Memorabilia : Black Americana : Pre 1950 item #1303163 (stock #BA954)
Stonegate Antiques
$825.00
Offered is the fabulously RARE NIGGER HAIR Tobacco Tin produced from the late 1870's through the first half of the 1940's.

This particular tin does not retain its original, US Internal Revenue paper tax stamp, so there is no way to precisely date it. As such, we will place its age as at the first half of the 1940's- the final production years of this style tin.

The image of an African woman with the racist title of “Nigger Hair” imposed over her shoulders was used by The American Tobacco Company of Wisconsin to promote its product; the lithographed tin was manufactured by the B. Leidersdorf Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Interestingly, it must be noted that after World War II, the product name "Nigger Hair" was changed to "Bigger Hair", although the exact same image of an African Woman continued to be used. The company simply added the words “Fiji Islander” to the left of her face in a very, very weak attempt to broaden the product’s appeal by moving further away from the earlier, severely derogatory moniker. At that time, the material out of which the tobacco container was constructed was changed from tin to heavy cardboard.

Measuring 7 inches high x 5 ¾ inches wide, the condition of the tin is a wonderful 8 out of 10--- sporting a beautiful lithograph on both sides with extremely minor, superficial scratches and rubs, along with tiny areas of paint loss. These areas of minor paint loss exist on the back side where the metal bale handle made contact with the tin and slightly scraped it, and on the front side, where several teeny areas of paint loss are present that are very difficult to see unless bright light is deliberately shown upon the tin surface as has been done in both closeup photos. When viewed in natural lighting, the tiny areas of paint loss on the front side are not readily visible unless one deliberately looks for them (see first photo).

The rim of the tin has two, tight 1/8" long splits- very difficult to see and photograph and which are not visible with the tin cover in place. The lid, base, bale handle junction points, and interior of the tin show minor evidence of light, superficial rust. Otherwise, the tin is solid. The original mustard-orange color of the tin remains consistent over the entire tin as does the clear, brilliant black lithography.

Any imperfections are quite reasonable and expected given the age of this piece-- approximately 80 years of age!! Please note that any "white" areas in photos are flash or lighting reflections and are not imperfections to the tin.

Truly an extraordinarily RARE piece of Black Memorabilia seldom found in this wonderful condition complete with bail handle and lid (Soft tissue paper has been wrapped around the bail handle to prevent any further scratching to the tin exterior.)

All Items : Popular Collectibles : Memorabilia : Black Americana : Pre 1940 item #1449090 (stock #B301)
Stonegate Antiques
$125.00
Measuring 9 1/2 inches wide x 13 inches long, this brightly colored, copyright 1931, Little Black Sambo, large softcover book illustrated by acclaimed American children's illustrator, Fern Bisel Peat, is very rarely found!

(Also currently available is Fern Bisel Peat's companion Little Black Sambo Puzzle!)

Published by The Harter Publishing Company, Educational Publishers, Cleveland Ohio, this book along with a companion puzzle which features one of the illustrations from this book, were likely released to the public at the same time. Both the book and puzzle were intended for use in the school setting, grades K-2, as well as in the home. The aforementioned Little Black Sambo puzzle is also available for purchase on this website (type Sambo into the SEARCH box).

This story is a much-beloved children's classic written in the early 1900's by Englishwoman, Helen Bannerman, for her two daughters while they lived in India. Sambo, in the original Bannerman tale, was an Indian boy and not an African-American child. He was converted to this race overtime, however, by subsequent story tellers and illustrators. This age-old tale tells of Little Black Sambo and his frightening tiger encounter, which fortunately, has a happy ending!

Condition is an 8.5 out of 10! This unnumbered, softcover book has seen little use with just a teeny bit of wear to book edges and very small creases here and there on the covers which do not effect structural integrity. The eight large folio, color illustrations retain their intensely vibrant hues and are simply just spectacular, and they alternate with lovely black ink line drawings. (My camera did not do justice to the intensity of color, washing it out.) An inked inscription is present on the inside front cover. The front and back covers have separated completely from the staple binding; there is separation of book pages only at the following point: below the lower of the two remaining staples. The third and lowest staple is missing.

Despite these imperfections, this rarely found,soft-cover, children's book is in amazing condition given its 90 years of age!

Fern Bisel Peat, 1893-1971, was born in in Erie, Pennsylvania, and went to public schools in Elyria. She attended Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, graduating with a degree in fine arts. Marrying Frank Peat in 1917 and settling in northern Ohio, Fern soon began painting children’s murals in both public and private venues.

As her work grew in popularity in the 1920's, she was asked to design children's wallpaper for a Cleveland company, designing a set of Mother Goose wall panels that sold widely. She soon was approached by the Saalfield Publishing Company where she went on to illustrate over 60 children's books!

From 1933 to 1955 she was editor and chief illustrator for Children’s Play Mate magazine, published in Cleveland, and nearly all of the covers during that time period feature her illustrations.

As the major breadwinner for the Bisel Peat family, Fern found every way possible to market her work to publishers, advertising firms and toy makers during the lean years of the American Depression and World War II. As a result, her distinctive children's illustrations can not only be found within children's books of the era, but also on holiday decorations, paper fans, playing cards, rag dolls, tin toys…not to mention coloring books, puzzles, paper doll books, and greeting cards!

To see all of the Little Black Sambo items currently available for sale, simply type “Sambo” into the search box on our website homepage.

All Items : Popular Collectibles : Memorabilia : Black Americana : Pre 1930 item #271729 (stock #BA391)
Stonegate Antiques
$85.00
An interesting and older circa 1940-50's, molded plastic, African female doll carrying a tiny African baby doll in a pouch on her back!

Fine detailing hallmarks this 11.25 inch tall doll. She is dressed in a black native costume -- all handsewn with yellow and black beads, and is adorned with a matching double-strand beaded necklace and single-strand beaded bracelet along with gold hoop earrings. Her lips, as well as the baby's, are painted red and both have inset life-like, plastic eyes. Her hands swivel at the wrists; her arms and legs are jointed at shoulder and hip, respectively.

No identifying marks are evident; clothing is securely attached and could not be easily removed for a further look.

Condition is excellent with the exception of damaged toes on the right foot.

All Items : Popular Collectibles : Memorabilia : Black Americana : Pre 1970 item #272747 (stock #BA260ABA395)
Stonegate Antiques
$38.00
Offered for individual sale are two, circa 1960's, "Days of the Week", cotton muslin Hand Towels each featuring a cross-stitched Mammy hard at work tackling a different household chore on each day! The towels are priced at $38 each or both for $65. Please specify preference when making inquiries.

One of the hand towels, "Monday", is entirely hand-cross-stitched and hand-hemmed on a somewhat heavy-weight, cream-colored, cotton muslin. It measures approximately 36 inches square and features Mammy washing clothes using a washboard in a wooden barrel. Condition is quite good with small, scattered, stain spots here and there- none in the area of the cross-stitching.

The other hand towel, "Friday", is made of a slightly lighter weight and whiter-colored, cotton muslin. It measures 28 x 29 inches, and again, it has a tiny stain spot here and there away from the cross-stitched area. The hems are machine stitched while the cross-stitching is entirely hand-completed. This towel features a humorous scene of Mammy serving/making pancakes while a pitcher of milk or water unknowingly spills behind her!

These delightful towels would look charming folded and displayed on a kitchen wall rack or could even be framed - folded so that only the cross-stitched area is visible in the frame!

As the towels are priced both separately or as a pair, please email us stating whether you wish to purchase the pair or only one of the towels so that we can customize your order form.

All Items : Popular Collectibles : Memorabilia : Black Americana : Pre 1910 item #1444733 (stock #B296)
Stonegate Antiques
$995.00
Presented as a historical and cultural artifact, this extraordinarily RARE, very, very scarcely found, cloth book entitled "Pickaninny ABC" was published in London, Patented March 7, 1905, Number 39, by Dean's Rag Book Co. Ltd. The book measures 8.50 inches long x 6.75 inches wide, and is the companion volume to the also exceedingly rare 1904 Dean's Rag Book, "Ten Little Indians" which I have had the pleasure to offer for sale only twice in my decades-long antiques career (see final photo for a cover shot of the companion Ten Little Indians book).

Each of these rag books were published as alphabet and numerical teaching tools for the very young children of the wealthier class who could afford to purchase books to furnish their children's home library as well as to support their early home-tutorial education.

While clearly overtly racist in title (pickaninny) and conceptualization ("A" stands for Alabama Coon, "P" stands for Pickaninnies), the book also promotes age-old stereotypes as well ("W" stands for Watermelon, "U" stands for Uncle Tom, "H" stands for Hen-Roost, "C" stands for Cake Walk, etc) that were, unfortunately, acceptable societal references at the turn of the twentieth century.

This 116 year old book remains in all-original, very good condition with no alterations or repairs. While the front and back covers exhibit significant age-related staining, the interior pages are significantly "cleaner" and the illustrations remain very brightly colored. Interior pages present varying degrees of very light soiling, light foxing, and yellowing of linen, commensurate with age. The exterior binding has teeny spots of wear to the first layer of binding fabric which do not impact binding integrity. Top and bottom edges are subtly frayed.

This book is in truly remarkable condition for its age and in consideration of its all-cloth construction. This title is very RARELY found in today's market and is the first I have ever had the pleasure of offering for sale in my nearly 40 years dealing in this field! This is an absolute cornerstone piece to any serious Black Memorabilia collection!

All Items : Popular Collectibles : Memorabilia : Black Americana : Pre 1900 item #611218 (stock #BA643B)
Stonegate Antiques
$625.00
A simply fabulous and extremely rare, circa 1870-1880's, solid brass, Black Americana SLAVE FACE BOWL!! A striking image!!

Prominent facial features- eyes and brows, nose, cheekbones, lips and teeth -and tight curly hair rise from the surface of the bowl. The bowl is rather heavy for its diminutive size and has no markings. Measures 4 inches in diameter and 1.5 inches high. Condition is excellent with some tarnishing that may be cleaned if desired; our preference was to offer this 140+ year old piece in as found condition.

An outstanding and highly collectible offering to add to one's advanced Black Memorabilia collection!

All Items : Popular Collectibles : Memorabilia : Black Americana : Pre 1930 item #1426490 (stock #BA948)
Stonegate Antiques
$825.00
Measuring approximately 7.5 inches high, this highly sought after Black Vargas wax figure with a young child is mounted on its original wooden platform and is one of a series of fascinating "street character wax dolls" conceived of and crafted by Mrs. Conception Vargas Alfonso, daughter of the world-renowned, turn-of-the-20th century-New Orleans, Spanish sculptor, Francisco Vargas.

From approximately 1915 through the 1930's, Mrs. Vargas-Alphonso, influenced by the artistry of her father who also sculpted in wax, crafted a variety of wax dolls inspired by the black folk she saw on New Orleans's street corners while growing up. Sold exclusively at the time through Harriet's, of 318 Rue Royale in the French Quarter of New Orleans, the completely hand-made, one-of-a-kind dolls are seldom found on today's market due to their inherently fragile nature, making them highly sought after in the Black Memorabilia Collectible arena.

This figure, known as the Cotton Seller with Child, is most particularly hard to find and thus is quite highly sought after as it features a very young, female black child standing in a basket of newly-picked cotton. The Vargas family seldom included children or infants in their depictions of the numerous trades of black New Orleans folk, making any characterization featuring a child or an infant more than significantly rare.

Vargas wax figures are distinctly characterized by their interesting but highly exaggerated facial features. This female, Mama, Cotton Seller wears a red and white kerchief on her head, a red and white checked scarf around her neck, and a yellow and white checked shirt and skirt with an apron that matches her head scarf - all constructed of actual cloth fabric that was coated with a fine layer of clear wax to stiffen them. At her feet is a very large, wax-constructed basket made to simulate wicker that is filled with cotton and within which her young female child stands. The Cotton Seller's wax body is internally supported by a wire frame through which the figure is securely attached to the wooden base. The bottom of the base is stamped "Genuine VARGAS New Orleans, LA".

This wonderful figure is in amazing condition for her 75+ years of age with no apparent or visible imperfections other than some missing fingers, a condition which is quite commonly found among Vargas figures.

The Cotton Seller's young, female child also has some missing fingers, and additionally, her neck shows a contiguous crack all the way around. Because her structure is also supported by internal wiring, her head still remains securely attached to her body. Please note that the child is merely placed inside the cotton basket and was never securely glued into it. The wax cotton basket, which was originally glued to the wooden base, has become loosened from it; however, when positioned on the base, it will easily remain in place for display.

Vargas figures are becoming increasingly more difficult to find!

Type "Vargas" into the SEARCH box to see the other Vargas figure currently available: 1920 New Orleans Vargas Wax Black Doll Female Vegetable Seller

All Items : Popular Collectibles : Memorabilia : Black Americana : Pre 1940 item #383436 (stock #BA474)
Stonegate Antiques
$325.00
Measuring 12 inches in length, this circa 1930’s, Topsy Turvy Doll is in superb condition and is unusually and wonderfully appointed with great attention to detail! Both black and white sides of the doll have been very finely dressed with rose blossoms on their bandannas as well as at their waists- very, very rare for the “Black Topsy” to be so well attired!

”Black Topsy” is dressed in a striking pink, green, orange, and black cotton, geometric-patterned dress- very Art Deco! Her mouth and nostrils are stitched in red thread and she has white pearl button eyes.

The Caucasian doll is dressed in a cotton lavender dress- also with a geometric, Art Deco pattern in black, green and yellow. Her blouse and bandanna are lavender sateen. Her entire face has been finely stitched. She has pink nostrils and mouth, black eyebrows, and her black stitched eyes have pretty lashes that highlight her silvery gray irises! She has the very palest of staining to her face above her nostrils, but it is barely noticeable, and there is some light fading to her sateen bandanna.

Condition and detailing of both sides of this Topsy Turvy is really quite extraordinary, setting her apart from other Topsy’s!! A wonderful addition to one’s doll or Black Memorabilia collection!

All Items : Popular Collectibles : Memorabilia : Black Americana : Pre 1950 item #596309 (stock #BA641A)
Stonegate Antiques
$75.00
This is an authentic signed baseball from former Negro League baseball player Luther "Luke" Atkinson. The ball was signed at an autograph show in March 2006. Luther "Luke" Atkinson was #20, a stand-out performer for the Wilson, North Carolina All Stars, the Carolina Tigers, and the Satchel Paige All-Stars, who played baseball in the Negro Leagues from 1955 to 1960, starting his career right out of high school. As of spring 2018, Mr. Atkinson, who lives in Maryland, remains an active volunteer in the newly opened, Hubert V. Simmons Museum of Negro Leagues Baseball, Inc., at the new Owings Mills Metro Centre Complex.

A brief history of the Negro League:

African Americans first began to play baseball in the late 1800s on military teams, college teams, and company teams, eventually finding their way to the established professional baseball teams of white players. However, racism and “Jim Crow” laws would force African Americans from these teams by 1900, with black players left to form their own teams.

In 1920, an organized league structure was formed under the guidance of Andrew “Rube” Foster, a former player, manager, and owner for the Chicago American Giants. In a meeting held at the Paseo YMCA in Kansas City, Mo., Foster and several other Midwestern team owners joined to form the Negro National League. Soon, rival leagues formed in Eastern and Southern states, which brought black baseball to major urban centers and to rural countrysides in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. The Leagues maintained a high level of professional skill and inspired economic development in many black communities.

In 1945, when Major League Baseball’s Brooklyn Dodgers recruited Jackie Robinson from the Kansas City Monarchs, Robinson became the first African American in the modern era to play on a Major League roster. While this historic event was a key moment in baseball and civil rights history, it marked the decline of the Negro Leagues. The best black players began to be recruited for the Major Leagues with their black fans following them, and the last Negro Leagues teams folded in the early 1960s.