Thursday, April 17, 2008

More on The Untold Truth

Last month I noted that a new documentary about the Negro Leagues was in production. From, here's more on The Untold Truth:

The film, which is in production, will tell the rich, important and largely ignored history of black baseball and everything surrounding it from its beginnings in the late 19th century until Jackie Robinson broke the Major League racial barrier in 1947 . . .

. . . "I decided that I don't want to do the Ken Burns treatment on this project," [Producer Gregg] Champion says of the noted documentary filmmaker's all-encompassing nine-part "Baseball" series. "What he did is fantastic, but the gist of this lesson has to be told to (an) audience of Generation X and Generation Y. That's who's missing out on the message. And how do we do that?"
As I said before, it sounds like a very ambitious film in that it will attempt to go beyond just the game itself and look at the black communities and economy which were, in many ways, buoyed and supported by black baseball. Communities which disappeared as the Negro Leagues did, be it by coincidence or otherwise.

As our friend Pete Toms has pointed out in the comments on a couple of occasions, there are many -- most notably author and columnist William Rhoden -- who believe that integration of baseball and the demise of the Negro Leagues were, practically speaking, a disaster for blacks, in that it robbed the black community of an entire class of coaching, managing, administrative, and executive talent who were made redundant when the players migrated to teams and leagues owned and operated by whites. According to Gregg Champion, The Untold Truth will address this "lost tribe" phenomenon, as Rhoden puts it.

I particularly look forward to that aspect of the film if for no other reason than it will show how deep-seeded, long-standing, and pervasive the problem the lack of blacks in positions of power in sports truly is. So long-standing and pervasive, in fact, that it renders the simplistic ritual of an annual headcount pretty meaningless.

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