Windsor

Comic book honours Chatham Coloured All-Stars team

"I had no idea about any of this history," said Chantler, who was commissioned by a University of Windsor professor to do the graphics. 

The book is ten pages long

The comic book was released at the end of April. (Scott Chantler)

In 1934 the Chatham Coloured All-Stars baseball team won the provincial baseball association title — more than a decade before Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier in the Major Leagues. It was only their second year in the league.

Scott Chantler, a local graphic novelist, was inspired by the history of the team. 

"I had no idea about any of this history," said Chantler, who was commissioned by a University of Windsor professor to do the graphics. 

Chantler first did a one-page four-panel comic highlighting the team in 2016 — and then the team decided to expand the project. 

"I found it fascinating. It's been a terrific project to be a part of," said Chantler.

The book is still only ten pages, focusing on the time leading up to the final championship game. 

"There are a few pages on the racial discrimination the team would have faced," said Chantler. "It's a great sports story but it's also a social, historic victory."

A group shot of the team, the Chatham Coloured All Stars. Taken from the Harding family scrapbook. (Supplied photo)

Backlash against the team ranged from questionable umpire decisions during games and being turned away from hotels in the towns where the team traveled to play.

Chantler is used to researching — a lot of his work focuses on history.

"When you're visualizing history, it's down to the last detail," said Chantler, listing things like doorknobs and curtains that have to match the period of time he's drawing. "I put a lot of effort into that, into my work."

The hope is to get the mini-comic distributed to schools in Chatham-Kent. Chantler made a few adjustments to make sure it was suitable for a school-age audience.

"Mostly I tried to tell the story as I would to any audience," said Chantler. 

Copies are available for sale for $5 through an online store and at the Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society. Proceeds from the sale go to the CK Black Historical Society. 

With files from Windsor Morning

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.