BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (WIVT/WBGH) – The newest of 13 markers in the Downtown Binghamton Freedom Trail was unveiled at the Rumble Ponies game on Friday.
Professional baseball player Bud Fowler is the most recent addition to the freedom trail. The plaque is located inside Mirabito Stadium.
Fowler was one of the first Black players to integrate white professional baseball more than 60 years before Jackie Robinson. Fowler played for the Binghamton Bingos back in 1887 and inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame last year.
Each of the 13 plaques on the city’s freedom trail mark locations on the Underground Railroad or tell the stories of civil rights activity in the Southern Tier.
The Director of the Harriet Tubman Center for Freedom and Equity, Anne Bailey says that the freedom trail is a way for us to reflect on our past, and understand it to better our future.
“It’s to give credit, to give honor, in the present, to those who’s contributions were overlooked in the past. It is to remember them as we would want to be remembered for our work, for our effort, and for our love of country,” said Bailey.
Fowler was a pitcher and infielder, and some journalists hailed him as one of the best pitchers of that era. He played for multiple teams throughout his 20 year career and met discrimination at each one.
The freedom trail project was funded by a $400,000 state grant and an additional $100,000 from the City of Binghamton.