African-American Baseball in North Louisiana topic of Black History Month lecture
Louisiana historian Thomas Aiello will speak on the cultural and historical significance of African-American baseball in North Louisiana during the Great Depression, Feb. 18 at Lincoln Parish Library.
Aiello’s lecture, “We Have Yet to Find a Moses: the Monroe Monarchs and Depression-Era Black Baseball in North Louisiana” will be from 6 to 8 p.m. and is free and open to the public to commemorate Black History Month.
The program will also feature interviews of three local men, two who played baseball in the Negro League—Albert Collingsworth, of Grambling; and Robert Smith, of Ruston; and former owner of a team in the league, Curtis Mayfield, of Ruston.
“Tom Aiello is one of the best young historians working in the field of Louisiana history today,” said associate professor David Anderson, director of the Louisiana Tech University history department’s annual Black History Month program.
A Monroe native who received his doctorate in history at the University of Arkansas in 2007, Aiello is currently serving as a visiting assistant professor of history at the University of Louisiana—Lafayette.
“He’s a great researcher and a prolific writer,” Anderson said. “As a native North Louisianan, he truly cares about documenting the region’s social history, particularly events and topics that other historians have neglected or ignored. He is almost single-handedly revising the history of twentieth-century North Louisiana, particularly what we thought we knew about African-American history.”
Aiello’s publications include a history of the Ouachita River Flood of 1932 and an analysis of student protests at Grambling State University during the 1960s. He also has two books on African-American sports in North Louisiana scheduled for future publication by university presses, Louisiana Holy Day: Grambling, Southern, and the Bayou Classic Football Game (LSU Press) and The Kings of Casino Park: Race and Race Baseball in the Lost Season of 1932 (University of Alabama Press), which focuses on the Monroe Monarchs, a professional team during the Jim Crow era that competed in the Negro League World Series in 1932.
Aiello’s lecture is co-sponsored by the Louisiana Tech departments of history and journalism, Lambda-Rho Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, History Honor Society, Inc., and the Lincoln Parish Public Library.
Written by Elizabeth Christian