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LESSON 5: History of the Negro Leagues

STUDENT PRINTABLE 5: "About the Negro Leagues"

Supporting Lessons and Printables: Lesson 1 "What are Barriers," Printable 1 "About My Father," and Lesson 2 and Printable 2 "Values and Barriers"

TIME REQUIRED: One 40-minute class period, with additional time for Student Research Assignment (optional).

LESSON OBJECTIVE: Through reading and class discussion, students will understand important milestones in the history of the Negro Leagues. Students will also identify examples of how Negro League players used values to overcome barriers.


  1. Review the teaching points in the "What Are Barriers?" lesson about Jackie Robinson, and the "Values and Barriers" lesson about Jackie Robinson's Nine Values. Ask students if they've ever had to overcome some type of barrier. What values did they use to face the barrier?
  2. Distribute Printable 5 "About the Negro Leagues." Ask volunteers to read the narrative aloud.
  3. After finishing the narrative, hold a classroom discussion to reinforce key facts about the Negro Leagues: Why were the Negro Leagues formed? What was life like for players in the Negro Leagues? How good were the players and who were some of the great ones? What barriers did African-Americans have to overcome to play baseball?
  4. Ask volunteers to read aloud the values listed on Printable 2 "Values and Barriers". Review the definition of each value to make sure that students understand them.
  5. Divide students into small groups and ask them to discuss examples of barriers faced by members of the Negro Leagues, and what values were important in facing these barriers.

Student Research Assignment (optional):
Following the steps and links at the end of the "About the Negro Leagues" printable, have students conduct research into a Negro Leagues team, and write a report to share with the class.


  • Have each student develop three trivia questions from the narrative on index cards. Organize students into teams and play a trivia game.  
  • Have students create baseball cards of Negro League teams and players. The cards can include a picture of the team or the player and background information such as the team's location and history or the player's position, career stats, and honors.

Negro League Baseball Museum: 
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum:
Negro League Baseball:  

Mini-Poster: "Jackie Robinson's Nine Values": Download this printable featuring MLB players and Jackie Robinson's Nine Values.

Essay Contest: "Breaking Barriers Essay Contest": Encourage students to write essays about barriers they have faced in their own lives, and how they have used Jackie Robinson's values to face those barriers.

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