The Stantonsburg Hawks.

Wilson was not the only county town to field an African-American semi-pro baseball team. From 1945 into the late 1970s, the Stantonsburg Hawks successfully traveled neighboring counties for play.

John Lee Woodard (1917-1995) was the team founder, and players throughout its history included his son Willie Woodard, Ernest Hall and son Ernest D. Hall, Frederick Brown, Johnnie Streeter, Roy Lee Pender, Marvin R. Artis, George Artis, Tommy Rogers, Nathaniel Green Jr., William Sutton, Henry Revelle, Carter Knight, Raymond Mackey, Marvin Sessoms, Levy Daniel Jr., Melvin Hodges, Cleveland Leach, Joseph Green, Julius Green, Theodore Ward, Douglas Artis, Melvin Artis Jr., George Atkinson, and Ronnie Diggs.

I am trying to identify the Hawks’ earliest players, teammates of John L. Woodard. Do you know of anyone who played baseball with them in the 1940s?

I recognize three men in this photo — Ernest D. Hall seated at front left; Willie Lee Woodard (son of John L. Woodard, front row with glove on ground); and George Artis, second in second row. Who do you see?

[Update: Marvin Sessoms is in the middle of the front row; Johnnie Streeter is at far right in that row; and Ernest Hall Jr. (father of Ernest D. Hall) is standing third from left.]

Thanks to Tiyatti Speight for bringing this team to my attention and for the copy of this wonderful photo. Thanks as well to all the people of Stantonsburg who helped identify the players!


  1. Hi Lisa,
    Can you contact me at 646 851 9029 or
    I’m the GGG Grandson of Zealous Howard, and I’m interested on marking his grave as a historical site.
    I think I remember you stating to be related from the Eatmon or Brantley side.
    Please contact me at your convenience.
    Peace and blessings!

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