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The Ethiopian Clowns baseball team.

Founded in Miami, Florida, in 1935 or 1936 by Hunter Campbell and bootlegger Johnny Pierce, the all-black baseball team, the Ethiopian Clowns, were among the most widely celebrated and last examples of this name sake.

In 1943, the Clowns joined the Negro league baseball, beginning a 12-year membership in the circuit before withdrawing following the 1954 season. At first, the team was relocated to Cincinnati, Ohio, then in 1944 they moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, playing as the Indianapolis Clowns for the rest of their existence.

The proper nouns ‘Ethiopia’ and ‘Ethiopian’ were widely used to identify African Americans during the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Nike released a shoe commemorating the team a few years ago. Surprisingly, there are many other retro apparel celebrating the Clowns.

Filed under abesha* Ethiopia Ethiopian Clowns baseball 20th century history African Americans identity history Miami 1930s

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