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Carl Long

Negro League veteran and African American law enforcement pioneer Carl Russell Long was born May 9, 1935, in Rock Hill, South Carolina. His father William Long was a catcher for the black Rock Hill Blue Jays and his mother Ella Griffin Long operated a laundry business. Long graduated from West End School in Rockville where he excelled at sports. In 1951, at age sixteen, Long was recruited by John William Parker of the Nashville Stars of the Negro Baseball League (NBL). In Nashville, Long was taught to play center field by NBL legend and Hall of Famer, Oscar Charleston. He played for the NBL Black Barons in 1952, where he competed on the field with Willie Mays, Charlie Pride, Ernie Banks and Frank Robinson.

In 1953, Long was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and hit twenty home runs for Class A team, St. Johns, Quebec. In 1955, he was chosen as the first African American to play for the Kinston, North Carolina Eagles, also of the Pirates organization. Joined by other black players, Curt Flood and Leon Wagner, Long hit 111 runs and made the All Star Team. In 1956, Long married and hoped to be called up to the big leagues. However, he badly injured his shoulder in the Mexican League and never played major league baseball again. Starting as a truck driver, Long worked a succession of jobs including being named the first African American Deputy Sheriff in Lenoir County, North Carolina. In the 1970s, Long was appointed as the first black police detective in the history of Kinston.

The Kinston Indians started celebrating Carl Long Day in 1999. Carl Long Day is a three day celebration of Long and other Negro League veterans. Long, a member of the Negro Leagues Players Association, honored for his youth work and his baseball knowledge, lived in Kinston with Ella, his wife of fifty-two years. He passed away on January 12, 2015, at age 79.

Carl Long was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 21, 2005.

Accession Number

A2005.246

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/21/2005

Last Name

Long

Maker Category
Schools

Emmett Scott School

West End Elementary School

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Carl

Birth City, State, Country

Rock Hill

HM ID

LON02

Favorite Season

Summer

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Kentucky

Favorite Quote

I Want To Be Right.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/9/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Kinston

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Barbeque (Chicken, Fish)

Death Date

1/12/2015

Short Description

Police officer and baseball player Carl Long (1935 - 2015 ) played for the Negro Leagues and later became the first African American police detective in the history of Kinston, North Carolina.

Employment

Negro League Baseball

Pittsburgh Pirates

State of North Carolina

City of Kinston, North Carolina

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:40867,327:41877,340:57191,785:92115,1088:96719,1145:141601,1659:151229,1850:169063,2015:187570,2347:187990,2369:196050,2469$0,0:11002,179:19013,279:46566,705:86396,1233:102138,1459:130860,1808:143187,2019:178397,2460:178852,2482:190434,2673:211650,2967
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Carl Long's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Carl Long lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Carl Long describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Carl Long recalls his mother's family's community in Rock Hill, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Carl Long describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Carl Long recalls his childhood in segregated South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Carl Long describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Carl Long recalls the start of his professional baseball career

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Carl Long describes his tenure on the Birmingham Black Barons

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Carl Long describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Carl Long describes his father's work as a bootlegger

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Carl Long recalls his childhood neighborhood in Rock Hill, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Carl Long recalls his father watching him play baseball

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Carl Long recalls lessons in injustice from his career in the Negro Leagues

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Carl Long recalls leaving the Negro Leagues in 1954

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Carl Long recalls signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Carl Long recalls playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates organization

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Carl Long recalls playing for the Billings Mustangs in 1955

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Carl Long recalls playing for the Kinston Eagles in 1956, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Carl Long recalls playing for the Kinston Eagles in 1956, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Carl Long reflects on the effects of the Civil Rights Movement on baseball

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Carl Long recalls playing baseball in the Mexican League

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Carl Long recalls the shoulder injury that ended his baseball career

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Carl Long describes why he retired from baseball after his shoulder injury

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Carl Long recalls becoming a deputy sheriff in North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Carl Long recalls the death of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Carl Long recalls the death of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Carl Long describes his son, Sotello Long

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Carl Long describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Carl Long reflects upon his life

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Carl Long reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Carl Long reflects upon debates about the accuracy of Negro League history

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Carl Long recalls the experience of playing in the Negro Leagues

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Carl Long describes how he would like to be remembered, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Carl Long describes how he would like to be remembered, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Carl Long reflects on movies made about Negro League Baseball

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

8$4

DATitle
Carl Long recalls playing in the minors for the Pittsburgh Pirates organization
Carl Long recalls the death of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, pt. 2
Transcript
But 1955, they sent me out on the reservation out there in Billings, Montana. You stay up on the reservation all the time, have a good time, and had a real good year up there in Montana, played in Salt Lake City [Utah], Ogden, Utah, Boise [Idaho], Pocatello [Idaho], Magic Valley [Idaho] or something like that, and Billings, Great Falls, Montana, snow everywhere, had forty-two inches in 1954, 1955 in April. When the plane landed on top of that rock up there, and the airport is sitting on top of the mountain, looked on top of the mountain down in the valley at the ballpark, had forty-two inches of snow. They cleaned 'em all, cleaned the field away, snow banks piled up some, some kind of high. We practiced that Saturday evening. We got in there Saturday morning, practiced that Saturday evening. Went out there, the first pitch I hit was out of the ballpark, bim. I took off. I said Jack, Jack Paepke was our manager, and I told 'em, I said, I was ready. I went running off. He said, "No, you gonna have to hit some more. You gonna have to hit some more," but I know up there was cold, and the bat was stinging, and that's the reason while I hit one pitch out of the ball--first pitch I hit out of the ballpark. Had a young, young, young, young kid there played center field the year before. He didn't get it back no more. I had took over. And there's a guy by the name of Dick Stuart. Every time he'd get a hit, I get knocked down the next pitch. I said--never did charge the mound. I didn't go there to fight. I went there to play baseball.$$Yeah, Dick Stuart was a first baseman, right, for (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, first baseman--$$--for the Pirates, right?$$And no, he was a left fielder.$$Was he--$$Yeah (laughter).$$Okay.$$I had to go in his--all the way over there where he was standing about ten feet from the ball and catch the ball. He said, "You catch everything you can catch." He said, "Because I don't know if I can catch it or not." I said Dick, "You gon' have to learn how to catch these balls." And partner, I showed Dick something. I showed him how to play the outfield, but he never could learn. And (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) I know he was the great hitter though--$$Yeah, who are--$$--great, great hitter.$$--talking about? In 1956, I went to Kinston. I went to Kinston, North Carolina in the Carolina League, first black ballplayer, being the first black ballplayer down there and showed out.$Then all the patrol cars, policemen, start coming in there, started grabbing these guys. I said, "Hold it, fellows." I said, "Take your hands off 'em." I said, "I got it under control." And they started mumbling. Police department started mumbling. I said, "I got it under control." See, I could arrest them. They couldn't arrest me. They had to do what I told 'em to do.$$Okay, so the sheriff was above the--$$Yeah.$$--police department. Okay.$$See, the sheriff's department would protect the city [Kinston, North Carolina]. I told the fellows, I said, "Now don't let me catch you out of here no more." I said, "Now, catch you out here again, you know where you're going. I want you off the street." One kid knowed me real well, Roy White [ph.]. I said, "Roy White, I said now, you know better than this." He said, "Yes, sir, Mr. Long [HistoryMaker Carl Long], I sure do." I said, "And I want every one of y'all off the street, and I want, I'm gonna make sure that you see that they off the street," and he said okay. I carried one guy down there and booked him, Palmer [ph.]. I said, "Palmer, if you hadn't been carrying this gasoline, I said you'd been home too." Down there booking Palmer, sheriff [Fred Boyd] called me saying, "Carl, when you get through what you doing, I'd like for you to come up here to, in the office a minute." He said no. I said, "Dusty [ph.]." He said, "I can tell you over the phone." He says, "Fred Bates called me and told me that you weren't working with the officer." And I said, "Well, no. You know I just come out of the county," and I said, "I saw what was going on, and I went right in there and stopped everyone; I stopped it. All the policemen come over there and try to take, take over, and I told 'em, I said leave 'em alone." The sheriff said, sheriff started cussing, not at me, at Fred Bates about his police officer. He said, "Look," he said, "I'm sorry." He said, "I didn't mean to disturb you." He said, "You go on do what you gotta do, but when you get time, you stop by here." And I gotta tell you something. So when I finished booking Palmer I went up to the office. He said, "Them damn son of bitches over there at the police department," he said, "too scared to get out of the patrol car. And you had to come in there and do their job, and they talking about that you wasn't helping them." He said, "Don't worry about a thing." He said, "I'll straighten it out." So the press was there. The press got a hold of it all, also. The big thing was in the paper about it. The police department was scared to go out there and do their own job and, and jumped down on Carl Long's throat, because Carl Long was doing their--Carl kept the city from getting burned up and all that stuff. You know how the press can do it, blow things up. But that's how that happened. But--$$James Earl Ray never came through there, did he?$$No, he never did come through there.$$Okay, that's right.