D.C. Intersection To Be Renamed After Negro League’s First Female Pitcher

The first woman to pitch in the Negro Leagues and a two-way player, Mamie “Peanut” Johnson, will be memorialized by having a D.C. intersection (Dave Thomas Circle) named after her.

On Oct. 11, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser revealed that the intersection will be renamed the “Mamie ‘Peanut’ Johnson Plaza” after the female pitcher who played for the Indianapolis Clowns for three years, according to Fox 5. A $41 million construction project for the intersection near Florida Avenue and New York Avenue NE will end in 2024.

While the D.C. City Council still needs to approve the renaming Mayor Bowser said about the project, “Our community is ready to start a new chapter at this intersection, and we are off to a strong start by naming it after such an iconic woman.”

“Mamie ‘Peanut’ Johnson was a pioneer. Now, it is fitting that her name will represent these new spaces where residents and visitors can rest and play. I thank the Noma BID for engaging the public and going through a thoughtful process of renaming this intersection,” Bowser added.

Over 4,300 participants voted to rename the intersection in honor of Johnson. Between April 17 and June 25 of this year, D.C. residents voted for name recommendations for the intersection. Historically, the area was notorious for being a problem spot for traffic. Maura Brophy, president and CEO of the NoMa BID, said about construction, “The redesign of the Florida Avenue/New York Avenue NE intersection will transform the current space to make it safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers while also creating more than one acre of green space for the benefit of the community.”

Who is Mamie Johnson?

The trailblazing athlete pitcher played for the Indianapolis Clowns from 1953-1955. She entered the Negro Leagues as the Black players began to integrate into the MLB. Ironically, she had been rejected by the all-white female league because she was Black. Although Johnson was the only woman to pitch in the Negro Leagues, there were two other women who also played baseball with the men.

Johnson also proudly boasted that she learned how to throw her famous curveball from baseball great Satchel Paige.

“Tell you the truth, I didn’t know of his greatness that much. He was just another ballplayer to me at that particular time. Later on, I found out exactly who he was,” she explained.

After 1955, Johnson hung up her mitt and became a nurse. She died from an undisclosed illness in 2017.



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