Illumination Arts Blog
Illumination Art’s latest release, A Home Run for Bunny, is the inspiring tale of a young baseball team who had the courage to defy the social norms and stand up for their African American teammate, Bunny Taliaferro. Out of all of the members of this team of teenagers from Springfield, Bunny was the obvious star. He hit more runs, stole more bases, and scored more points than any of his peers. He also excelled in football and basketball, earning varsity letters in all three sports as a freshman. Bunny was truly an exceptional athlete, and was a great asset to his team.
In 1934, the team won the Hampden County championship. This provided them with the chance to go compete at the eastern sectional tournament in in Gastonia, N.C., the winner of which would move on to play at the American Legion World Series. The team was excited for this opportunity to shine, but when they arrived in Gastonia, they faced a tragic obstacle. The officials of the tournament would not let Bunny compete in the tournament because of his race, stating that he would be in danger if he stepped out onto the field. They expected that the audience would be enraged by the sight of an African American player. Bunny’s team now had a difficult decision to make, to either compete in the tournament without him or to support their teammate and lose the chance to go to the American Legion World Series.
Demonstrating a wisdom and bravery not often seen in that era, the team decided to go home. Upon arriving home, they received a well-deserved celebratory welcome, being recognized for the heroes that they were. Well before the time of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, the Springfield team showed everyone that the path of tolerance, integrity, and kindness is always the way to go.