One hundred thirty-three years ago today:
Wilson Advance, 7 June 1888.
Wilson Daily Times, 23 January 1948.
The Wilson Dodgers made their debut in 1948, opening against the Rocky Mount Black Swans.
Wilson Daily Times, 17 March 1948.
Wilson Daily Times, 21 May 1949.
The description “newly formed” more than a year later suggests they did not play a full season in ’48.
The Wilson Braves had a much better May than April 1932. The nine played the Bull City Aces (of Durham), the Harlem (N.Y.) Black Sox, the Hamlet Airliners, the Camel City Aces (of Winston-Salem), and teams from Leaksville and Greenville and went 9-2.
Wilson Daily Times, 2 May 1932.
Wilson Daily Times, 11 May 1932.
Wilson Daily Times, 16 May 1932.
Wilson Daily Times, 17 May 1932.
Wilson Daily Times, 18 May 1932.
Wilson Daily Times, 21 May 1932.
Wilson Daily Times, 24 May 1932.
Wilson Daily Times, 26 May 1932.
Wilson Daily Times, 27 May 1932.
Wilson Daily Times, 28 May 1932.
Wilson Daily Times, 30 May 1932.
I was delighted to find that the Daily Times regularly covered the 1932 season of the city’s semi-pro African-American baseball team, the Wilson Braves.
I’ve been able to discover very little about the team. They played home games in the “Vance Street ballpark,” a forerunner to Fleming Stadium that stood in the vicinity of modern-day Wells Elementary School. The articles highlight players generally by first or last name only, but I am working to identify them further. They included second baseman George Leach, centerfielder Monk Johnson, pitchers Joe Haskins and Jarvis Bank, Joe Harris, catcher Leroy, Wynn, Holden, Taylor, Hargroves, Fisher, Tate, Locus, pitcher Henry, and “Dummy.”
Here are the April games, in which the Braves played the Capital City Blue Aces (of Raleigh), the Kinston Royal Giants, the Rocky Mount Aces, the Statesville All-Stars, and a team from Suffolk, Virginia, and went 2-3-1.
Wilson Daily Times, 7 April 1932.
Wilson Daily Times, 14 April 1932.
Wilson Daily Times, 18 April 1932.
Wilson Daily Times, 21 April 1932.
Wilson Daily Times, 22 April 1932.
Wilson Daily Times, 28 April 1932.
From The Trojan, the yearbook of Charles H. Darden High School, 1948-49.
Statesville Landmark, 26 August 1946.
The Colored Owls played in the Western North Carolina Semi-Pro League.
In the fall of 1944, Darden High School’s football team, finding no teachers available to fill the role, coached itself.
Wilson Daily Times, 10 October 1944.
(Note the reference to the team’s playing field. Darden had no formal football field, and the team had to spend its own money to rent Fleming Stadium for home games.)
Indianapolis Recorder, 20 April 1940.
Hampton Institute (now University) sponsored the first National Interscholastic Basketball Tournament in 1929. The tournament aimed to “furnish an opportunity for state champions, runners-up, and teams with unusual records to play in a National Tournament, and to decide the National Championship.” Wilson High School (later Charles H. Darden High) of Wilson was among the field of teams at the first tournament.