The "Giants" nickname has been synonymous with sports teams for over 100 years. It was the most common nickname for all-black baseball teams before baseball was integrated. In our capital city of Providence it was no exception. The first successful efforts to organize black teams in the city occurred when the Providence Colored Grays started play in 1886. The Providence Colored Giants replaced the Grays by 1902 and experienced a nearly uninterrupted run into the 1930s. Over this span several exciting athletes played under the Giants name and acted as pioneers in the struggle to desegregate the game. The first professional baseball game played at Kinsley Park in Providence occurred in 1921 between Cleveland Colored Giants and the Providence Independents (made up of white players). Boston Braves pitcher Jack Cooney and his brother Fred (of the Cranston Cooneys) and Lizzie Murphy of Warren (The Queen of Baseball) played for the Independents. They had played a series of five games that season. After the last game the Colored Giants were stranded eventually calling Providence home. They continued playing under the Cleveland name for several seasons before rebranding as the Providence Colored Giants under Arthur "Daddy" Black, a businessman who made his money "playing the numbers." The team scheduled games against both white and black teams.
In 1931 "Daddy" found the Giants not profitable enough and sold the team to Dan Whitehead, a local baseball player more interested in the sport than the business end. He had managed his Colored All-Stars to the 1922 New England championship. Whitehead is regarded as the father of black baseball in Rhode Island. He was a sensational promoter and arranged games with leading colored teams in the country including Philadelphia Colored Giants, Brooklyn Colored Giants (1923 World's Colored Champions), Boston Royal Colored Giants and as well as all-white local semi-pro/amateur clubs. On many an occasion the Colored Giants would sign a star white player to play for them. Whitehead was also chairman of the Emancipation Day celebrations held at Rocky Point, which included a game that pitted a leading all-black team against its counterpart in Providence.
Well before Jackie Robinson broke the color line in the major leagues African Americans in Providence integrated the city’s amateur leagues. In 1926 Whitehead assembled the Providence Colored Giants that included white players and played in the previously all-white Rhode Island Suburban League. Also in 1931 Black's Providence Colored Giants were admitted to the Greater Boston Twilight League. The Circle A.C. team was organized by Ernest "Biffo" Duarte, prizefighter and sports promoter from Fox Point. He scouted the best players, black and white, but struggled to land his ballclub in the Tim O'Neil Amateur League.
Finally in 1949 the club was allowed to enter and won the Independent Amateur League championship by defeating the highly favored Tutelo's club on a two out, two-run double in the bottom of ninth which scored the tying and winning runs by pinch hitter Charles Harris. In 1951, the team jumped to the semi-professional ranks and again made history as Rhode Island's first integrated team to play for the National Baseball Congress's World Championship in Wichita, Kansas.