Elizabethton in Carter County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
Elizabethton Blue Grays
This independent semi-professional barnstorming Negro baseball team consisted of young men from Elizabethton, Johnson City, Kingsport, Greeneville, Middle Tennessee, Kentucky, Bristol, and Martinsville, Virginia. Because of segregation, their baseball careers were limited to the old Negro League. However, the Blue Grays persevered through America's Jim Crow period of racial segregation, the Great Depression, World Wars I and II, and the Civil Rights era. The Blue Grays played against some of the most famous Negro League teams of the time, including the Asheville Blues of the Negro Southern League. Some of them also played with the Indianapolis Zulu Clowns, the Alabama Black Barons, and the Nashville Cubs.
The Elizabethton Blue Grays were James “Chick” Forney, James Napier, Garland “Big Red” Norwood, Russell Smith, Columbus “Ted” Hartsaw, Lester Forney, Nathaniel Duffield, Raymond Gardner, Howard “JuJu” Thomas, Gilbert Horton, Gordon Jackson, Frank Landers, Ernest “Pat” McGee, Rob Bass, Ed Thomas, Will Taylor, Samuel “Slim” Avery, Jim “Son” Stover,
Erected by Tennessee Historical Commission. (Marker Number 1A 148.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Sports. In addition, it is included in the Tennessee Historical Commission series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1935.
Location. 36° 20.275′ N, 82° 13.257′ W. Marker is in Elizabethton, Tennessee, in Carter County. Marker is at the intersection of Church Street and South Lynn Avenue, on the right when traveling east on Church Street. The marker is in Douglas Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Elizabethton TN 37643, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Boone Trail Highway (approx. 0.6 miles away); City of Elizabethton Bicentennial (approx. 0.8 miles away); Samuel Tipton (approx. 0.8 miles away); Betsy Walkway (approx. 0.8 miles away); Burgie Drug (approx. 0.8 miles away); Covered Bridge Barnes Boring Hardware (approx. 0.8 miles away); Old Post Office (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Elizabethton.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 24, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 14, 2020, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 256 times since then and 99 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on October 14, 2020, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. 4. submitted on October 24, 2020, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.