Negro Southern League

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The Negro Southern League (founded in 1920) was an African-American baseball minor league. The league was unorganized and unsuccessful in its beginning years, disbanding and reconvening multiple times. It consisted of more than 80 Negro League teams, including the Birmingham Black Barons, the Kansas City Monarchs and the Atlanta Athletics.

The league was created by various African-American businessmen in Atlanta, Georgia in 1920 and lasted until 1951. Frank Perdue of Birmingham served as the league’s first president. The league acted as a "feeder route" for many African-American baseball players into the Negro American and National leagues and later into Major League baseball.

In the early years of the league, teams often struggled with accurate record keeping. Many early rosters listed players with incomplete names, and some players, such as Willie Mays, played under false names to compete in the league while still in high school.

Many players entered the Negro Southern League after playing in Birmingham’s industrial leagues.

The Negro Southern League disbanded in 1951 as a result of financial instability due to the loss of prominent African-American players to the major leagues, such as Hank Aaron and Willie Mays.

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri and Birmingham's Negro Southern League Museum memorialize the league by exhibiting artifacts from players and stadiums.


  • Negro Southern League Museum: “A History of Homeruns”
  • Paige, Leroy (1993) Maybe I’ll Pitch Forever
  • Peterson, Robert W. (1998) “Negro Southern League: Baseball Organization”