N.J. artist illustrates true story of youth baseball segregation in children’s book

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In 1934, a youth baseball team from Springfield, Mass., arrived in segregated North Carolina for the Eastern Regionals. But everything changed when the team’s only African-American player stepped off the train. The team soon was faced with two choices: not let their teammate play, or forfeit and go home.

In 1934, a youth baseball team from Springfield, Mass., made history. The American Legion All-Stars made it to the Eastern Regionals in Gastonia, N.C., on the athletic shoulders of a stand-out nicknamed “Bunny,” the only African-American player on the team. But they never made it to the championship. In fact, they never even played in Gastonia.

When the team’s train arrived in segregated North Carolina, everything changed the moment Bunny stepped onto the platform. The team soon was faced with two choices: not let their teammate play, or forfeit and go home.

Their decision to stay together as a team, even if it meant giving up their chance at the national championship, was a victory in its own way. The remarkable story is chronicled in a new children’s book called “A Home Run for Bunny,” written by Richard Anderson and illustrated by New Jersey local, Gerald Purnell, who joined NewsWorks Tonight to talk about the book.

Listen to the interview above.

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