Ohio Lawmakers Introduce Bill Honoring African American Baseball Pioneer
"Moses Fleetwood Walker Day" recognizes historic career of Ohio native
Posted February 13, 2017 by Minority Caucus
 
 

State Reps. David Leland (D-Columbus)—aka “Mr. Baseball”—and Thomas West (D-Canton) reintroduced legislation today to honor Moses Fleetwood Walker, the nation’s first professional African American baseball player, by designating Walker’s birthday of October 7 as “Moses Fleetwood Walker Day” in the state of Ohio.


“Walker stood tall and persevered in the face of the incredible bigotry and discrimination he experienced throughout his career,” said West. “His legacy of bravery, which continues to inspire us today, deserves the proper recognition this legislation will bring.”


Born and raised in Ohio, Walker attended Oberlin College in 1877 and played on the school’s first varsity baseball team. His skill as a catcher and batter led to Walker being signed by the Toledo Blue Stockings in 1883, where he would begin his professional baseball career.


“Walker prevailed against all odds, overcoming obstacles to break into professional baseball during one of our nation’s bleakest periods,” said Leland, who also serves on the board of trustees for the Columbus Clippers, the Cleveland Indians’ Triple A farm team. “We introduce this bill today with the hopes of cementing Walker’s rightful place in history as the first African American to play major league baseball in the United States.”


Walker’s career in baseball was cut short when both the American Association and the National League unofficially banned African American players in 1889. It would not be until 1947 when the color barrier was finally broken by the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Jackie Robinson.


The two lawmakers introduced this legislation in February in honor of Black History Month, and also the first day of Major League Baseball Spring Training—February 13.


Similar legislation was previously introduced during the 131st General assembly, received wide bipartisan support and unanimously passed out of the House of Representatives. 

 
 
 
  
Featured Posts

Lawmakers Concerned School Rating Overhaul Leaves Youngstown Schools Behind

 

State Reps. John Boccieri (D-Poland) and Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today expressed concern about House Bill (HB) 591, a Republican-led effort to once again overhaul the state’s school report card system. The bill would leave current triggers in place for schools that are under or near academic distress—a move the lawmakers say unfairly targets districts in academic distress like Youngstown, Lorain and at least 22 other districts across the state.

 



 
 

Legislation Urging Congress To Honor John And Annie Glenn With Congressional Gold Medal Passes Ohio Hous

 

House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) and state Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) today announced the unanimous House passage of  legislation that urges Congress to award Annie and John Glenn with a Congressional Gold Medal for their lifetime of public service.



 
 

Reps. Holmes, O'Brien Introduce Bill To Increase Funding To Local Communities

 

State Reps. Glenn W. Holmes (D-Girard) and Mike O’Brien (D-Warren) today announced the introduction of House Bill (HB) 578, which would reallocate to local governments nearly 40 percent of fees paid by outside companies to store fracking wastewater in Ohio injection wells. 



 
 

State Lawmakers, Policy Experts Urge Action On Overtime Pay, Call Out GOP Obstruction

 

State Representatives Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) and Kent Smith (D- Euclid) today announced legislation to strengthen Ohio’s outdated overtime pay rules. Policy Matters Ohio’s Hannah Halbert, who urged action on the nation’s outdated overtime pay rules, joined them. The event also highlighted how the Trump administration—as well as special interests and Republican officials, including Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine—are obstructing a rule that would ensure that workers are paid fairly for the hours they work.