By early 1932, facing the severe financial problems associated with the Great Depression, the nation no longer had any functioning major Negro leagues. The first Negro National League, which operated primarily in the Midwest, disbanded after the 1931 season. The Eastern Colored League folded in 1928, and its successor, the American Negro League, folded after the 1929 season.
In January 1932, the East–West League was formed by Cumberland Posey. The league featured eight teams located in the East and Midwest. The league began play in May, but attendance was poor because of the severe financial conditions of the Depression. Teams soon abandoned the planned schedule and turned to better paying bookings with white semipro teams. Within a month, it was clear that the league could not continue. In June the Detroit Wolves folded, and by early July the league had ceased operations.