Talking Jackie Robinson's America: Sport, Race, and Culture

Radford University Office of University Relations
Professor of history Johnny Moore

Most people have heard of Jackie Robinson, the talented baseball player who famously broke Major League Baseball's color barrier in 1947.

But what about Rube Foster, Josh Gibson and Cool Papa Bell? Unless you're a diehard baseball fan, you may never have heard those names, stars of the Negro Leagues in the early 1900s.

Radford University Professor Johnny Moore, of the history department, has studied the history of baseball and race in America and teaches a class on baseball and culture. This week on the With Good Reason public radio program, Moore will discuss Robinson and those African American stars who were never permitted to play in the segregated Major Leagues.

"Is there any way to assess the talent level of Negro League players and whether or not they would have been able to compete successfully within the white Major Leagues prior to Jackie Robinson breaking the color line?" Moore asks.

In addition, Moore will discuss the meaning of Jackie Robinson, not only to baseball history and sport, but to the larger issues of in integration and race relations within American history and culture.

Moore's interview will air Feb. 6-12 on 64 With Good Reason stations across the United States. Listeners in the New River Valley can hear the show at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 9 on Public Radio WVRU 89.9. Programs also are available through podcasts at

With Good Reason is produced by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities for the Virginia Higher Education Broadcasting Consortium and is broadcast on public radio stations in Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

With Good Reason has won five Gabriel Awards for Best Documentary or Public Affairs Programs, and is the recipient of top honors from the Public Radio News Directors, Radio and Television Digital News Association and the Virginia Association of Broadcasters.

Feb 1, 2016