The Negro Baseball Leagues Teaching Guide

Updated on 15 April 2024


Baseball is a huge part of American culture, and the Negro Baseball Leagues covers a dynamic time in American history. Engage sports enthusiasts by framing lessons on US history, social studies—including civil rights, integration & segregation, and racism—and more with this high-interest topic. Use our guide for ideas to help teach these and related themes & topics to your students!


  • history exploration
  • alternate perspectives
  • primary sources
  • creative writing
  • independent research
  • teamwork


Grade 5 - Grade 8


The Negro Baseball Leagues and American History

Six critically important eras in US history are connected to the Negro Leagues. Have
students pick one to research. Start the lesson by reviewing the Introduction from Great
Pitchers or Great Hitters.

1860–1880: slavery, war, and the growth of baseball
1880–1900: American Reconstruction and early black pro baseball
1900–1920: independent black baseball
1920–1945: the birth of the Negro Leagues, its rise and fall
1945–1960: integration and breaking barriers
1960–present: Negro Leagues legacy and civil rights

History in Context

What was happening in the United States during the NBL era? What was happening around
the world at that time? Were there any major historical events occurring? What about
before the birth of the NBL? Or at the time of its dissolution? Discuss an event and have
students hypothesize how that event had an impact on the league, or the other way around.

This free guide complements all the Negro Baseball Leagues titles available from Abdo Publishing. Download the full guide for more!


Name Size Format
Crossword Puzzle 123 KB PDF
Different Viewpoints 90.7 KB PDF
Mix and Match 118 KB PDF
Quotes in Context 91 KB PDF

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