Black Baseball Footage from 1900s Found on Film from Pebble Hill Plantation in Thomasville GA

The University of Georgia has uncovered footage of black Americans playing baseball at the Pebble Hill Plantation in Thomasville, GA. This the oldest known baseball footage shot in Georgia. (Click here to view the footage)

The 28mm home movie, part of the Pebble Hill Plantation Film Collection (c. 1917-c. 1976), was donated to the University of Georgia Libraries’ Walter J. Brown Media Archives, the only public institution in Georgia devoted entirely to preserving unique moving images and sound from the state,  last year.  Pebble Hill, a hunting plantation located just outside Thomasville, was bought in 1896 by Howard Melville Hanna of Cleveland, Ohio, as a winter home. In 1901 he gave the property to his daughter, Kate Hanna Ireland, and her children Livingston and Elizabeth “Pansy” Ireland.  Pebble Hill’s trustees donated the family’s films to the Media Archives in order to preserve their unique scenes of the family and property.

“It is believed to be the only existing moving image of a baseball game between teams made up of African-American employees on Southern hunting plantations.  The precise date of the film is unknown, but based on photographs of Pebble Hill teams and from other films wound with this film, it appears to have been made around 1919,” said Margaret Compton, moving image archivist at UGA. The opposing team in the game is from Chinquapin Plantation, also situated just outside Thomasville. Source