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Negro Leagues pioneer honored with Washington, D.C. Intersection

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Mamie Johnson, the first female pitcher in the Negro Leagues, was honored on Saturday with the renaming of an intersection in Washington, D.C. The intersection of Naylor Place and Georgia Avenue NW is now known as “Mamie Johnson Way.”

Nicknamed “Peanut,” Johnson was born in Roanoke, Virginia, in 1935. She began playing baseball at a young age and was quickly recognized for her talent. In 1953, Johnson signed with the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro Leagues. She played for the Clowns for two seasons, assembling a record of 33-10.

Johnson’s achievements on the field were phenomenal, but she also faced considerable challenges as a black woman in a male-dominated sport. Johnson was subjected to racism and sexism, but she persisted and evolved into a role model for other women who wanted to partake in the sport.

Mamie “Peanut” Johnson is seen on the field as she is honored on Jackie Robinson Day before a baseball game between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park Thursday, April 17, 2014, in Washington. Johnson was one of three women to play in the Negro Leagues. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

RELATED: Honoring Negro Leagues Baseball Week

Peanut Johnson’s legacy was honored Oct. 14 with a ceremony attended by her family, friends and former teammates. Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C., spoke at the ceremony and praised Johnson for her courage and determination.

“Mamie Johnson was a pioneer in women’s sports,” Bowser said. “She broke down barriers and showed the world that women can do anything they set their minds to.”

The renaming of the intersection is a deserved tribute to Johnson’s legacy. It is a reminder of her triumphs and the integral role she played in the history of baseball.

Sadly, Johnson passed away on December 17, 2017.

Contact multi-media staff writer Noral Parham III at 317-762-7846. Follow him on Twitter @3Noral. For more news courtesy of the Indianapolis Recorder, click here. You can also check out the Indiana Minority Business Magazine by clicking here.

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