African-American Baseball Experience Exhibit at UMass

Pride and Passion:
The African-American Baseball Experience

W.E.B. Du Bois Library at
UMass Amherst through Dec 7, 2012

“Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience,” an exciting new traveling exhibition displayed on the Lower Level of W.E.B. Du Bois Library at UMass Amherst from October 12 to December 7, 2012, examines the challenges faced by African-American baseball players as they sought equal opportunities in their sport beginning in the post-Civil War era. — The traveling exhibition is composed of colorful freestanding panels featuring photographs of teams, players, original documents and artifacts in the collections of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and in other institutions and collections across the U.S.

When segregation was still a part of American life (and legal, too), African-American baseball players were shut out of American League baseball.  As a result, over 200 independent teams were formed, their rosters full of talented players.

Today, many of these players and their teams are remembered in the Baseball Hall of Fame’s traveling exhibit, “Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience.”  Currently being shown at UMass Amherst’s Du Bois Library, the exhibit includes lots of information about the Negro League of Baseball.

Visitors will learn about everything from players’ nicknames to the role that the league played in the desegregation of the American League in 1947.  The exhibit is, of course, exciting for baseball enthusiasts, and it provides a unique and valuable learning opportunity for students, too.  A visit to the exhibit can teach students of all ages about the effects of racism and segregation in America, and fits well with studies of American history from the Civil War to the present. Students will learn about the cultural context in which the players lived, the blatant racism that they were forced to tolerate, and the gaping inequalities between black and white Americans that existed during segregation.

The exhibit is located in the library’s lower level, and is open through December 7th.  For more information, call 413-545-6888 or visit library.umass.edu.

The Library is sponsoring several free programs for the public in connection with the exhibition, including an opening reception on October 25 at 4pm:.

Thursday, Oct. 25, 4pm, Lower Level, Du Bois Library, UMass Amherst: “Raceball: How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game,” a talk by Rob Ruck PhD, Senior Lecturer in the History Department at the University of Pittsburgh. The event is also an opening reception for the exhibit “Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience.”   Ruck is the author of Sandlot Seasons: Sport in Black Pittsburg;, The Tropic of Baseball: Baseball in the Dominican Republic; Rooney: A Sporting Life and the recently released Raceball: How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game.  His documentary work includes Kings on the Hill: Baseball’s Forgotten Men, which won an Emmy for Cultural Programming, and The Republic of Baseball: Dominican Giants of the American Game.  He was on the committee that elected eighteen players from the Caribbean and the Negro Leagues to the Hall of Fame in 2006 and recently served as an advisor for Viva Beisbol, the permanent exhibit on Latinos at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Thursday, Nov. 8, 4pm, Lower Level, Du Bois Library: “Effa Manley, the First Woman Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame,” a talk by Doron Goldman.  A former lecturer in the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at UMass Amherst, Doron “Duke” Goldman is currently a baseball historian and presenter as well as an elder care researcher.  At UMass Amherst, Doron taught a course called “Baseball: Myths and Legends.”  A longtime member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), his interests are the Negro Leagues and baseball’s integration, as well as baseball’s role in the ongoing struggle for social justice in America.

Thursday, Nov. 29, 4pm, Lower Level, Du Bois Library: “Red, Black, and Green: The Red Sox, Race and Pumpsie Green,” a talk by Rob Weir.  Weir has published four books on the American labor movement: The Changing Landscape of Labor (with Michael Jacobson-Hardy); Beyond Labor’s Veil: The Culture of the Knights of Labor; Knights Unhorsed: Internal Conflict in a Gilded Age Social Movement; and The Historical Encyclopedia of American Labor (with James Hanlan).  Weir is a lecturer of history at UMass Amherst and has taught at Bay Path College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and Mount Ida College, and was a senior Fulbright scholar in New Zealand.

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