U of M to host exhibition
Posted: Friday, August 14, 2009 9:59 am
The Messenger 08.14.09
The University of Memphis will display “Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience” — which tells the story of black baseball players in the U.S. over the past 150 years — on the second floor of the Ned R. McWherter Library Sept. 8 through Oct. 16.
The exhibition features images from the permanent collection of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Although many blacks played baseball with whites in the 19th Century as amateurs and also played on minor league teams through the1880s, black players were not allowed to compete with whites when Major League Baseball was created in the mid-1890s. To counter this discrimination, they organized teams made up entirely of black players and formed leagues that were known collectively as the Negro Leagues.
The Negro Leagues had their highest level of success in the 1940s, but they continued into the 1960s. When Jackie Robinson was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1945, integration in baseball began a slow and uneven path to the integrated status of modern day teams and all-black teams began to disappear. The last one disbanded in 1961.
Through cultural timelines of American history and baseball history, visitors will be able to place the African-American baseball story into the larger context of American history and see how it intersects with events such as the Dred Scott Decision, the Civil Rights Act of 1866, passage of the 15th Amendment, Jim Crow laws, Plessy v. Ferguson, the great migration to the North, Brown v. Board of Education and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In conjunction with the exhibit, four programs will be presented in the McWherter Library, all of them free of charge and open to the public. They include:
• Sept. 9, 12-1:30 p.m. — Larry Lester, co-founder of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo., will talk about the history of African-American baseball and its meaning for African-Americans and for American society, followed by a discussion with the audience.
• Sept. 10, 12-1:30 p.m. — U of M professors John Haddock and Steven Ross will screen “Black Diamonds, Blues City,” their award-winning documentary about the Negro League’s Memphis Red Sox.
• Sept. 23, 12-1:30 p.m. — Reggie Williams, vice president of community relations for the Memphis Redbirds, will show his award-winning film “Memories of the Negro Leagues: A Conversation with Joe Scott,” a documentary about the declining number of African-Americans playing baseball and recounting his experiences with some of the legendary Negro League players.
• Oct. 8, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. — Anna Wade, director of museum education for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, will host an interactive videoconference with audience participation.
“Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience”, black baseball players, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Ned R. McWherter Library, University of Memphis