Monday, September 26, 2016  
Search By Keyword
Breaking News Alerts
Email Alerts
Email Address
Text Alerts
Mobile Number
 )  - 
Mobile Provider
standard messaging rates apply
North Charleston Police
Do you think that the North Charleston Police Department has taken appropriate steps towards reform a year after the Walter Scott shooting?
Twentieth Anniversary of Successful Baseball/Civil Rights Protest
8/20/2014 4:23:14 PM

Photo of Lawrence Holt as member of first all black little league team from Charleston, SC to play in Official Little League Tournament in 1994.
By Gus Holt

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the founding of a Charleston protest movement that succeeded in ridding Dixie Youth Baseball of visual ties to the Confederate States of America.

On March 8, 1994, a group of concerned Charleston parents, under the leadership of Agustus Holt, converged on City Hall to address the city Recreation Department’s affiliation with the Dixie Youth Baseball League. At the time, the logo of Dixie Youth included both the American and the Confederate flags and replicated the general design of the second national flag of the Confederacy, the Stars and Bars.

Dixie Youth Baseball was founded in 1956, the year after the Charleston controversy when white Little League teams had to decide whether they would play the all-black Cannon Street Y team. The national Little League welcomed all-black teams and integrated teams. Because of that, a number of Little Leagues throughout the South joined in Dixie Youth Baseball, which would remain all-white until the 1960s, soon after the death of founder Danny Jones of North Charleston.

In 1994 the Charleston parents brought with them to City Hall petitions that contained more than a thousand signatures. The petitions read, “We the undersigned believe that the Confederate flag is a divisive element in our community and should not be supported by tax dollars. Further, that to continue to place the burden of this issue on our youth is unacceptable. It’s time to move on to Little League Baseball where all young citizens of our community can fulfill the purpose of organized sports without intimidation.”

Besides Holt, the group included Onica Fields, Joe Simmons, and Okarsama Oubre. Ms. Fields asked, “Will my son be subjected to wearing this logo?” Simmons, Oubre, and Holt also addressed the mayor and members of City Council.

Because of the protest, the city of Charleston, under Mayor Joseph P. Riley, requested that the Dixie Youth logo be changed to remove the Confederate elements. In 1995 the league removed the flag.

Holt remembers, “As a result we were able to make a southern institution give up a divisive symbol of a bygone era. Since 1994 no child, black or white, has had to wear the Stars and Bars. This was a local initiative, unaffiliated with the NAACP or any other organization.”

Holt founded Charleston American Little League the same year in part so local children would not have to take orders from Dixie Youth Baseball and to give them the chance to play in the international Little League World Series. “Today,” he points out, “an all-black team from Chicago is playing in the World Series.” For twelve years Charleston American Little League teams were made up primarily of African American children. He is a member of the board of the North Charleston Reviving Baseball in the Inner City (RBI) program.

Dixie Youth Baseball Inc. now operates in eleven southern states. More than 400,00 children participate in their sports leagues, including those associated with the City of North Charleston Recreation Department.

The City of Charleston’s Recreation Department is now affiliated with Cal Ripken Baseball.

Visitor Comments

Account Login  

  need help?  
Current Conditions
Charleston, SC
Radar & More >>
click ad below for details
Show All Ads