John Marquess Latting, born April 10th, 1900 in Helena, AR1 was a Negro League baseball player in 1926.
Latting was the son of Charles C. Latting and Jane (nee Perkins) Latting.2 He was born and raised in eastern Arkansas, but moved with his family to Kansas City, KS by 1915.3
Latting attended Wilberforce University during the 1920s and was captain of the school's baseball team in 1922.4 In late May 1926, Latting's former Wilberforce teammate Eddie Huff was named the player-manager of the Dayton Marcos of the Negro National League.5 Huff soon thereafter gave Latting a trial with the Marcos in the first game of a May 31st doubleheader against the Indianapolis A.B.C.'s. Latting played first base and batted leadoff for Dayton, going 0-4 with an error. He was not subsequently retained by Dayton.
On September 9th, 1925, Latting was one of eleven people arrested in relation to the killing of a white man near the home of Dr. Ossian Sweet in Detroit, MI.6 Latting, a friend of the Sweet family, was attempting to help the Sweets safely move into their new house situated in an otherwise all-white neighborhood when a white mob began violently protesting outside. Shots were fired from the Sweet home, killing a white man and injuring another. After their arrest, the trail of Dr. Sweet, Latting and the others gained national attention when famed attorney Clarence Darrow took their case. After a mistrial in November, Darrow's request to retry the defendants separately was granted. In May 1926, a jury acquitted Dr. Sweet's brother Henry Sweet, effectively dismissing the case against the other defendants. The prosecution formally filed a motion to dismiss the case against Latting and the others in July 1927.
Latting graduated from Wilberforce in 1927 and Howard University in 1932 with a degree in dentistry.7 8 Latting died on March 21st, 1969 in Detroit, MI9 10 and was buried in Westlawn Cemetery in Kansas City, KS.11
Statistics at the Seamheads Negro League Database.
1 Washington's WWII Draft Card. (Accessed at Fold3.com.) Latting's obit (Kansas City Star, 3/26/1969) suggests that he was born in Lula, MS.
6 "The People v. Ossian Sweet, Gladys Sweet, et. al. (1925) The People v. Henry Sweet (1926)", byMichael Hannon, 2010.