26

SATURDAY

Too many years after Jackie Robinson played his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers, in 1947, baseball’s supposedly shattered color barrier was still a snaggletoothed presence in the Deep South’s minor leagues. Playing for various Dixieland farm teams, youngsters like Hank Aaron and Manny Mota were engaged in a twofold daily skirmish: fighting for a shot at the bigs—and fighting for their lives. In Brushing Back Jim Crow: The Integration of Minor-League Baseball in the American South, author Bruce Adelson weaves interviews, anecdotes, and the grim history of the Jim Crow South together to tell the story of the African-Americans who struggled to play our national pastime professionally long after Robinson’s death-defying feat. Sad but true: When a 19-year-old Aaron helped integrate the South Atlantic League in 1953, fans hurled rocks. Then again, when Aaron shattered Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1974, fans hurled death threats. Adelson discusses his book at 7 p.m. at Borders, 8311 Leesburg Pike, Vienna. Free. (703) 556-7766. (Sean Daly)