J. L. Wilkinson made his mark on history in three important ways: as the founder and owner of the Kansas City Monarchs, one of the greatest teams in the history of the Negro Baseball Leagues; as a pioneer in the use of lights in baseball; and as the man who gave Jackie Robinson his professional start in the game.
Photograph of Thomas Y. Baird (left, co-owner of the Kansas City Monarchs), Chester A. Franklin (center, owner of The Call), and James L. Wilkinson (right, founder of the Kansas City Monarchs) reviewing a petition in The Call to "Save Negro Baseball". During WWII, the U.S. Office of Defense Transportation was planning to forbid private baseball teams from using private bus transportation to tour.
Group portrait of the Kansas City Monarchs. Standing, from the left: Sam Bankhead, T.J. Young, George Giles, Turkey Stearnes, Frank Duncan, Moocha Harris, Carroll Mothel, Cool Papa Bell, Newt Allen, Willie Wells, J.L. Wilkinson. Kneeling, from the left: Chet Brewer, Newt Joseph, Bullet Joe Rogan, Charles Beverly.