The 1955 Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars baseball team has been featured in national media stories and honored at the Little League World Series and Riley Park, and this month the team will get its own historical plaque. The South Carolina Department of Archives and History, with the sponsorship of the city of Charleston, will dedicate the marker at Harmon Field.
A ceremony is set for 2 p.m. Feb. 19 at the corner of President and Fishburne streets. Charleston Mayor Joe Riley will attend, along with historian Ramon M. Jackson, Burke High School principal Maurice Cannon, and Cannon Street All-Star team historian Gus Holt.
The two-sided plaque reads: “Harmon Field, established in 1927, was one of many parks across the country created with support from the Harmon Foundation, a national philanthropic organization. Though dedicated to the ‘Recreation of All,’ state law mandated the racial segregation of public parks and Harmon Field remained a facility for African Americans until it was desegregated in 1964. Among other uses, the park was a venue for games played by amateur and semi-pro baseball teams. … Cannon Street All-Stars: In 1953 the Cannon St. YMCA established the first African American Little League in S.C. and played games at Harmon Field. In 1955 the Cannon St. YMCA entered a team in the state Little League tournament. Rather than integrate, white teams boycotted and the Cannon St. All-Stars were state champions by forfeit. The All-Stars were invited to the Little League World Series, but not allowed to compete.”
Jackson, a doctoral candidate at the University of South Carolina, will present a lecture, “Baseball Dreams Deferred: The Story of the 1955 Cannon Street YMCA,” at the Avery Research Center, 66 George St., from 12-1:15 p.m. on Feb. 18.
For more information, contact Jason Kronsberg at the city of Charleston at 579-7556.