Willie Powell is on a crusade to bring youth baseball back to his hometown.
Powell, who grew up in Moncks Corner and still lives there, wants to establish a Little League Baseball program in the black community.
Better known for his athletic feats on the basketball court for Berkeley High School, Powell's first love was Little League Baseball.
Powell will be leading a public meeting at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Howard Brown Facility, located at 229 Haynesville Road in Moncks Corner. Former Negro League baseball player Russell Patterson of Sumter will be the guest speaker. Food will be provided.
Patterson has been featured in an HBO Real Sports segment on "Stories of Racism in the Negro Leagues" hosted by Bryant Gumbel.
"He'll be here to try to motivate getting Little League Baseball back into the black community. That doesn't mean others cannot play, but we want to bring this back into the black community because it's been a fallen thing for us," Powell said.
Powell said Little League Baseball is already in Moncks Corner, but the games are held at Lion's Beach and many members of the black community can't get their children there. He said a local law firm already has signed on to provide uniforms and equipment for one team.
"We're making an effort to help them so there will be no excuses that they can't do it. Some of the kids can't pay for their equipment and that's where I come in. I'll be fund-raising to help them get these things for free," Powell said.
Powell said he will be the league commissioner, and William Manigault will organize the coaching. Powell can be reached at (843) 709-0673; Manigault at (843) 899-4143.
Powell said doing things for youth makes him happy.
"It fills a void in my life," he said. "Every day you wake up you've got to do something. I choose to do something good. I think there's some healing power . when you do stuff like that. Little League Baseball was the first sport I played, and every community in the black community had a Little League team. That disappeared. We need to be more concerned with the kids."
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