"On 13 July 1867, the New York Clipper ran this notice:
Fred Douglass Sees a Colored Game
“The announcement that the Pythian, of Philadelphia, would play the Alert, of Washington, D.C., (both colored organizations,) on the 16th inst., attracted quite a concourse of spectators to the grounds of the Athletic, Seventeenth Street and Columbia avenue, Philadelphia. The game progressed finely until the beginning of the fifth inning, when a heavy shower of rain set in compelling the umpire, Mr. E. A. Hahurst, of the Athletic, to call the game. The score stood at the end of the fourth inning: Alert, 21, Pythian, 18.
The batting and fielding of both clubs were very good. Mr. Frederick Douglass was present and viewed the game from the reporters stand. His son is a member of the Alert."
With baseball beginning around the 1850s and the Douglass' family having been involved in the game as early as 1867, they may be considered pioneers in America’s favorite pastime as well as civil rights.
The New York Clipper passage was part of the article: "1861- 1871: New Observations on Military Baseball in the United States” by Anthony F. Gero. He goes on to observe that: "...although the name of Douglass' son is not given on the Alerts, two of Douglass' sons, Charles and Lewis, served in the famous 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry during the war. One could reasonably argue that one or the other had knowledge of the game and, perhaps, played it as well while serving with the famed Regiment. Unfortunately, until substantiation of that can be found in reliable sources that is only an intriguing speculation at this time.” The exploits of the 54th Massachusetts were memorably portrayed in the film "Glory.”