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Let Them Play

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Overview

Segregated Charleston, SC, 1955: There are 62 official Little League programs in South Carolina -- all but one of the leagues is composed entirely of white players. The Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars, an all-black team, is formed in the hopes of playing in the state's annual Little League Tournament. What should have been a time of enjoyment, however, turns sour when all of the other leagues refuse to play against them and even pull out of the program. As the only remaining Little League team in the state, Cannon ...
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Let Them Play

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Overview

Segregated Charleston, SC, 1955: There are 62 official Little League programs in South Carolina -- all but one of the leagues is composed entirely of white players. The Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars, an all-black team, is formed in the hopes of playing in the state's annual Little League Tournament. What should have been a time of enjoyment, however, turns sour when all of the other leagues refuse to play against them and even pull out of the program. As the only remaining Little League team in the state, Cannon Street was named state winner by default, giving the boys a legitimate spot in the Little League Baseball World Series held in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. While the Cannon Street team is invited to the game as guests, they are not allowed to participate since they have not officially "played" and won their state's tournament. Let Them Play takes its name from the chant shouted by the spectators who attended the World Series final. Author Margot Theis Raven recounts the inspiring tales of the Cannon Street All-Stars as they arrived in Williamsport, PA and never got the chance to play for the title thanks to the bigotry and ignorance of the South Carolina teams. Winning by forfeit, the Cannon Streeters were subsequently not allowed to participate in Williamsburg because they had not "played" their way into the tournament. Let Them Play is an important civil rights story in American history with an even more important message about equality and tolerance. It's a tale of humanity against the backdrop of America's favorite pastime that's sure to please fans of the sport and mankind. This summer will mark the 50th year since the fans' shouts of Let Them Play fell on deaf ears and 14 boys learned a cruel lesson in backwards politics and prejudice. This book can help teach us a new lesson and assure something like this never happens again.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This book tells the true story of the 11- and 12-year-old boys on a black little league team who cared more about the chance to play ball than about the social issues of the day in segregated South Carolina. The author revisits the events of the summer of 1955, when all of the white teams pulled out of little league rather than play against the one black team, the Cannon Street All Stars. Not even the classy uniforms their parents and community leaders raised the funds to purchase could brighten the sadness of the boys who held the title of state champions only by default. An invitation to attend the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, turned out to be another low blow—the boys found out they would not be allowed to play because they had never actually played a game during the season. The title of the book is taken from the shouts of the crowd when the Cannon Street All Stars entered the stadium and sat in the bleachers at the Little League World Series. Illustrations capture the emotional realities of the era. 2005, Sleeping Bear Press/Thompson Gale, $ 16.95. Ages 6 to 12.
—Carole J. McCollough
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-This picture book brings to light a shameful incident in the history of Little League baseball. In 1955, there existed one all-black chapter of Little League teams in Charleston, SC. After the coaches selected a 14-member all-star squad in hopes of playing in the state's annual tournament, all of the white teams in the region withdrew rather than play a black team. The Charleston Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars won the state title by default. They were invited to Williamsport, PA, to watch but not play in the World Series. Raven's tone throughout is positive, but her prose stumbles a bit at times as in: "[It was] A chant that said you can't steal a boy's dream to succeed, like a Jackie Robinson slide into home." The poignant message of this tale rings true even today, and Ellison's lovely paintings lend strong support to the meaning and emotion of the text.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585362608
  • Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
  • Publication date: 6/16/2005
  • Series: Sleeping Bear -- True Stories
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 395,559
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: NC1100L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.48 (w) x 11.32 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2006

    History and Baseball - This book is a hit

    Touching true story of the African-American Cannon Street YMCA All-Star Little League team of 1955. Fourteen boys yearn to play in the Little League Baseball World Series - but racism prevents them. Recommended book for young children and baseball fans. You'll soon chant, 'Let Them Play', too!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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