Up Next

Black History Month

Today in black history: It’s time for Negro Leagues baseball, opera performance, a professional basketball team forms, and more

The Undefeated edition’s black facts for Feb. 13

1920 — Negro National League is founded. There was a need for more African-American players in baseball, but the Jim Crow laws that ruled much of the South prevented players from finding teams on which they could play alongside their white counterparts. To allow African-Americans to freely showcase their talents without being banned or ridiculed, Andrew “Rube” Foster, a baseball player and manager, along with other team owners, created eight teams under the Negro National League, which was founded in Kansas City, Missouri.

1893 — Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones, simply known as Sissieretta Jones, takes her place on the main stage during a benefit concert held for the World’s Fair Colored Opera Company at Carnegie Hall, making her the first African-American to do so. Jones, a soprano who was often referred to as the “Black Patti” after famous Italian opera singer Adelina Patti, came from humble beginnings in Portsmouth, Virginia, before moving to Providence, Rhode Island, with her family.

1923 — The first black pro basketball team: The Renaissance is founded. Similar to the Negro Leagues, black basketball players desperately searched for a space they could call their own. The New York Renaissance (aka the Rens) was created by Bob Douglas, an athlete and passionate sports promoter who was known as the “father of black basketball.”

1977 — Happy birthday, Randy Moss. Born in Rand, West Virginia, the TV analyst played 14 seasons in the NFL and holds the record for touchdown receptions in a single season (23 in 2007).

2003 — Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan and Shaquille O’Neal team up to lead the Western Conference All-Stars to a 137-126 win in the 2003 NBA All-Star Game. This big three may be one of the best frontcourts the league will ever see representing the West.

Kelley Evans is a general editor at The Undefeated. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.