University hosts Negro League Baseball exhibit

By Olivia Seecof

Staff Writer

A traveling exhibit exploring the history of the Negro Leagues in baseball opened in the Bertrand Library, Level II on Oct. 12 and will run through Nov. 22. The opening of the exhibit kicked off a series of events exploring America’s pastime during the segregation era.

The exhibit is entitled “Discover Greatness: An Illustrated History of Negro Leagues Baseball” and has been on tour since 1993.  It includes many old photographs documenting African-American baseball players from the late 1800s through the 1950s.  The collection of photos focuses on the Negro teams that formed in 1920 and ended in 1960.

The Kansas City-based Negro Leagues Baseball Museum presented the exhibit.

“The Negro Leagues are an entry into understanding the history of segregation. A ‘great migration’ of black people from rural to urban areas occurred during this time period. In these urban cultural enclaves, leisure activities such as baseball were very important. Some argue that the integration of baseball was the first crack in the walls of segregation,” said Raymond Doswell, vice president of Curatorial Services.

Greg Krohn, associate professor of economics arranged to bring the exhibit and many speakers.

“I thought that [the exhibit] would be a way for many of us to learn more about the period of segregation in the United States and to recognize the accomplishments of the athletes that played in the Negro Leagues. The exhibition and speakers would supplement the study of the history of leagues and discrimination in my Sports Economics course,” Krohn said.

Planned events to complement the exhibit include speakers such as Hal Richman ’58 and Baseball Hall of Famer Monte Irvin. Irvin’s speech “Only the Ball Was White – a conversation on Black Baseball” was held in the Elaine Langone Center (ELC) Forum on Wednesday.

Upcoming events include “The Story of Strat-O-Matic Baseball and the Negro Leagues Players Set” with Richman, inventor of Strat-O-Matic Baseball, on Oct. 24 in the ELC Center Room at 7 p.m.  Attendees will play a game with sets of Negro Leagues and Hall of Fame baseball player cards.

“If It Ain’t Got that Swing: Black Baseball and Black Music in the Era of the Color Line” with Robert Cvornyek and Lawrence Hogan will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 2 in Bucknell Hall with a Jazz concert to follow. Cvornyek is a professor at Rhode Island College and Hogan is a historian of Union County College.

“I am looking forward to going to the concert and enjoying the music,” Samantha Lara ’13 said.

“Raceball: How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game” will be held in the ELC Forum at 7 p.m. on Nov. 10 with Robert Ruck. Ruck is from the University of Pittsburgh and author of a book by the same name as his lecture.

The exhibit is open for another month, so there is plenty of time to enjoy the photographs and attend the sponsored events and speakers.



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