Historic Markers Across Florida

Wendell Smith And Billy Rowe

Marker ID:  
Location: 105 E. Orange Ave, Daytona Beach, FL
County: Volusia
Coordinates: N 29° 12.584    W 081° 1.008
  29.20973333    -81.0168
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


Wendell Smith And Billy Rowe
Crusading Journalists
—Jackie Robinson Ballpark & Museum —

Wendell Smith, (Sports Columnist) And Billy Rowe, (Photographer) Worked For The Pittsburgh Courier, Once The Country's Most Widely Circulated Black Newspapers With A National Circulation Of Almost 200,000.The Courier Sought To Empower African Americans Economically And Politically. Wendell Smith, A Native Of Detroit, Michigan, Dedicated Himself To Doing “ Something On Behalf Of The Negro Ballplayers," When, As A Young Winning Pitcher, A Major League Scout Did Not Consider Him, But The Losing Pitcher Was Signed Because Major League Baseball Barred Black Players. Smith Became A Crusading Black Press Journalist. Known As The Man Who Recommended Jackie Robinson To Branch Rickey. He Fought For 40 Years To Raise Awareness About The Conditions Under Which Black Players Were Forced To Play, Suffering Embarrassment, Humiliation And Indignities During Six Weeks Of Spring Training In Florida. Branch Rickey Recruited Both Wendell Smith And Billy Rowe To Accompany Jackie Robinson Throughout His First Spring Training. Jackie Robinson Later Hired Wendell Smith To Write His Autobiography Titled Jackie Robinson, My Own

, Published In 1948.

(photo caption)
“The (Pittsburgh) Courier (was) most effective in seeing that the game's racial barrier was finally lifted and (Wendell) Smith doggedly fought for the inclusion of Blacks in organized baseball."
David Wiggins, Journal Of Sport History

Wendell Smith, Daytona Beach 1946 – Billy Rowe, Circa 1950s
Wendell Smith Photo courtesy of the Baseball Hall Of Fame Library, Cooperstown, NY, Billy Rowe Photo courtesy of the Daytona Beach News-Journal

A picture of this marker can be found on HMDB.org