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WNCHA History Hour: Asheville’s Black Baseball Teams

August 11 @ 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM


Join the Western North Carolina Historical Association (WNCHA) and Buncombe County Special Collections Thursday, August 11 at 6pm for a special History Hour event exploring the history of Negro League baseball teams in Asheville, and the larger influences of these leagues on the Civil Rights movement. This event will be held in person at Buncombe County Special Collections at Pack Memorial Library in Asheville. It will also be livestreamed and recorded for those who cannot attend in person.

Asheville has a long history with baseball. Three regional or national Negro League teams—The Royal Giants, Black Tourists, and Blues—played within the city between 1916-1955 before and during the integration of the major leagues. These teams were often overshadowed in the public eye by Asheville’s white teams, but still drew throngs of spectators to watch the talented players (and some famous opponents) play at Oates Park, Pearson Park, and McCormick Field. This program will examine the pioneering figures such as E.W. Pearson and Clarence Moore who established and even managed the Royal Giants and Blues, and also look at the wider effects of Negro League Baseball on the struggle for civil rights.


About the Speakers:

Clifford W. Cotton II was born and raised in Asheville, NC, graduated from Stephens-Lee High class of 1960, attended N.C.C.U.in Durham, studied business and music becoming a professional musician, all the while reflecting back on my Grandfather E.W Pearson and the contributions he made to the City of Asheville and Western Carolina (Army veteran 1893 9th Calvary  Buffalo Soldier )

In 1913 he owned and founded The Buncombe County & District Agricultural Fair which continued for over thirty years. Being a great Baseball fan but unable to attend pro games at the city Park. He started his own semiprofessional Baseball team. The Royal Giants. In March 1921 E.W. Pearson  became president of the Blue Ridge Colored Baseball League comprising teams from Charlotte, Asheville, Spartanburg, Rock Hill Gastonia, Concord, Winston-Salem and Anderson Royal Giants opening game in Asheville April 15 with the Anderson Sluggers. There were many games to follow and always a major attraction at the Agricultural Fair.

For more information contact Pack Memorial Library, North Carolina Room or give me a call 678-488-2701

Derrick Jones and his wife, Denise have been married for thirty-four years. Derrick is from Wilmington, N.C. and is a “79” graduate from Appalachian State University. He completed graduate school  in “85” from The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He met his wife, Denise when he was in graduate school. As an active retired educator/ administrator, he spends his time researching, learning, sharing information and making presentations about “The History of Negro Leagues Baseball” and “The Life and Legacy of Jackie R. Robinson.” Derrick has presented at both his alma maters and throughout the states of North Carolina and Virginia.  His desire to dig into the weeds to learn new information about these topics affords him, practice of intellectual solidarity for the goodwill of others. Derrick welcomes  all viewers and fans of baseball as we dig into the weeds to learn and paint a picture about Black Baseball in Asheville and Negro Leagues Baseball.


Location: 6-7:30 PM at Buncombe County Special Collections at Pack Memorial Library, 67 Haywood St, Asheville, NC 28801


Tickets: Free – donations accepted. We want our events to be accessible to as many people as possible. If you are able please consider making a donation along with your ticket purchase. These donations are placed in our Community Fund, which allows us to offer tickets to several events at no cost to those who would not be able to attend otherwise.

Register Here


Viewing: Please register for either in-person or virtual attendance. If you register to attend in person and are unable, you will still receive a link to attend virtually via Zoom.. Recordings will also be sent to registrants the following day, and available on our website wnchistory.org


This event is brought to you in part by Buncombe County Special Collections. For questions, please email Trevor Freeman at [email protected]


(Images: 1918 Royal Giants at Oates Park, courtesy Buncombe County Special Collections)

Western North Carolina Historical Association received an American Rescue Plan Humanities Grant from North Carolina Humanities, www.nchumanities.org. Funding for this grant was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the American Rescue Plan Act economic stabilization plan. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of North Carolina Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.


August 11
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Event Categories:


Western North Carolina Historical Association (WNCHA)
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Buncombe County Special Collections
67 Haywood Street
Asheville, NC 28801 United States
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