Philly’s Anderson Monarchs Launch Civil Rights Barnstorming Tour
Written by LiRon Anderson-Bell on June 24, 2015
“1 bus, 16 states, 4,000 miles, 14 kids”
So begins a just-released video by photographer/videographer Al Tielmans about Philadelphia’s storied Anderson Monarchs travel baseball team, which recently embarked on a civil rights barnstorming tour that will take them to a number of landmarks around the United States.
The 14 young players are mostly African American, all in their mid-teens, and come from neighborhoods across Philadelphia. Pitching sensation Mo’ne Davis, who gained international acclaim during her 2014 Little League World Series appearances with the Taney Dragons, is among the team’s many talented players.
The team, named for both opera singer Marian Anderson and the Negro Baseball Leagues’ Kansas City Monarchs, is traveling with coach Steve Bandura in a refurbished vintage coach from the late 1940s, evoking memories of the Negro Leagues teams that traveled in similar style during their own barnstorming tours.
Author Hilary Beard – friend to WURD and activist in her own right – shared with us that the Monarchs’ tour includes a visit to 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL — the site of the September 15, 1963 Ku Klux Klan bombing that killed Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Carol Denise McNair, four young Black girls who were in the church basement preparing for Sunday service.
For more information about the Monarchs, visit andersonmonarchs.org.
The New York Times also published a story about the tour, which can be read here.