Monday, August 10, 2009

54. Satchel Paige - James Sturm

Striking Out Jim Crow
A Graphic Novel
Illustrated by Rich Tommaso
The Center for Cartoon Studies, 2007
96 pgs.
Rating: 4

The title was a little misleading - I thought, for a bit of the beginning, that the protagonist was Satchel Paige. When I figured out it wasn't, at that this was a linear story and not vignettes, I went back and started over, understanding the story.

From the point-of-view of a young black man that faced the pitching of Satchel Paige, we learn of many things - about the great black pitcher, about the lack of any rights for blacks, in baseball or in life, at this point in time (the book goes from 1929 through 1944), and at the life of one sharecropping family in the south during this time.

The introduction by Gerald Early sets up the history of black baseball in America and the true story of Satchel Paige, at the end are short discussions of various pieces of historic information brought up in the book: Wages, The Railroad, Sharecropper Shacks, The Negro National League, African American Press, Bullet Rogan, Paige's Personal Catcher, Paige's Pitches, Rituals and Rhythms, Speek and Daring, Barnstorming, The 1934 St. Louis Cardinals, Jim Crow's Unwritten Laws, Lynching, The Role of Church, The N-Work, Calling in the Infielders, His Next Gig.

You get a real feel for the man, the time, and this tiny slice of black history - all in graphic novel form.

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