JACKSON (JSUTigers.com) - Jackson State University will host former Little League pitching sensation Mo'ne Davis and the Anderson Monarchs of Philadelphia, Pa., as they take on a Richland team in a free public exhibition game at JSU's Robert “Bob” Braddy Field at noon Saturday, June 27, as part of the Monarchs' barnstorming civil rights tour. The Monarchs burst onto the national sports scene behind the talent of its female pitcher Mo'ne last summer. In August 2014, she became the first African-American girl to play in the Little League World Series and is the first girl to pitch a shutout and earn a win, which landed her on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
The now under-13 team, which is a week into its tour, includes many of the former Little Leaguers. Before making their way to Braddy Field, players will visit southern cities such as Jackson, where civil rights legends played key roles. The stop in Jackson will include a visit to the home where Medgar Evers lived.
The Monarchs are named after Marian Anderson – the first black singer to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in 1955 – and the Kansas City Monarchs, a standout Negro League team during baseball's segregation era that included Jackie Robinson.
“The opportunity to host the Anderson Monarchs, Mo'ne Davis and our friends locally from Richland for this game on the campus of Jackson State is special,” said Dr. Robert Luckett, director of the Margaret Walker Center and associate professor in the Department of History at JSU. “In these current times of racial turmoil, these young people – and an exhibition baseball game – can remind us how much we all have in common.”
Luckett, working in conjunction with the JSU Division of Athletics and other units on campus, helped coordinate Saturday's youth league exhibition. “On April 30, I received an email from one of my old graduate school professors, Bryant Simon, who is now working at Temple University as professor of history. He said his son plays on the Monarchs team, and they would make a trip to Jackson as part of their civil rights tour/exhibition game schedule.”
Shortly after, Luckett was contacted by Monarchs head coach Steve Bandura, and JSU's Braddy Field was selected as the game location. Luckett, with the help of Richland coach Joey Moak, secured an opponent for Mo'ne and company.
The Monarchs already have made several other significant stops during their sojourn. They toured the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., where four young girls were killed during a bombing in 1963; and visited Atlanta Braves legend Hank Aaron, who shared his experience of growing up in Alabama.
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