Volunteers from several Atlanta-based companies came together Wednesday (July 28) to restore an old field once used by the local Negro League baseball team.
The Atlanta Black Crackers baseball team played within the historic Negro League baseball of the 1920s. Their practice field was located in a vacant lot on Bush Mountain off of Bridges Avenue and in bad need of revitalization.
Over 150 volunteers from the Atlanta Braves, Delta Airlines and West Atlanta Watershed Management Alliance (WAWMA) came out to clear the overgrown field in an effort to preserve history. The Atlanta Voice reported that volunteers also planted a seedling from a century-old magnolia tree that once grew in the outfield of the team’s playing field during the restoration project.
“A couple of years ago, someone wrote about this space here atop bush Mountain that this is sacred dirt and sacred ground and I firmly believe that,” Dr. Na’Taki Osborne Jelks, co-founder of the WAWMA told volunteers.
“There are years of history steeped here in this soil and we are grateful to have this opportunity to start this revitalization of this beautiful place,” Jelks continued adding that she’s grateful the local Negro League team and the historic land it practiced on is finally getting its story amplified.
“Anytime here in America, anytime that Black people get their recognition it means a lot,” Tauvis Elder, president of Bush Mountain, told the outlet. “Not only to me but to all of us. We deserve it. It means a lot to me.” Elder also described walking along the lot as a young boy and finding team memorabilia in the field. He believes there’s still some out there.
Earlier this year, the MLB announced it would officially recognize the National Negro League as a major league.
The Negro Southern League Museum also celebrated the centennial of the formation of the Negro League back in February.