Negro Leagues Baseball: From segregation, a celebration

“Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience,” a national traveling [email protected]@, is on display in the South Reading Room of the Knight Library through Friday, Nov. 18.

The exhibition contains colorful, freestanding panels with photographs of teams and players, original documents and memorabilia from the collections of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (NBHFM) and other institutions across the U.S.

“The big face (poster) of Jackie Robinson definitely drew me in. He was a really important person in baseball history. I think it’s cool that the U of O is doing this,” said Henry [email protected]@, a senior studying advertising, as he perused a display.

“Pride and Passion” is based on an installation of the same name on permanent display at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, [email protected]@ The local version is co-sponsored operationally by the NBHFM and the American Libraries Association (ALA) and financially made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the [email protected]@

Supplemental exhibits are located in display cases in the east and west entry corridors of the library, featuring artifacts and literature pertaining to Jackie Robinson and other Negro leagues [email protected]@For use of apostrophe;, as well as unique images and data on several African-American athletes at the University between 1926 and 1977.

“What we wanted to do was to compliment and supplement the traveling exhibit,” said Mark [email protected]@, Associate University Librarian for Collections and Access. “We filled our own exhibit cases with research into how the color barrier was broken here at the U of O.”

An opening reception for the exhibit was held last Friday, featuring a talk by Stanford University’s Arnold [email protected]@, who has written biographies on Jackie Robinson, Langston Hughes and Ralph [email protected]@

An upcoming reception tied to the exhibit will feature a talk, “Conservative Revolutionary: How Branch Rickey’s Signing of Jackie Robinson Jump-Started the Modern American Civil Rights Movement,” by baseball scholar Lee Lowenfish. This will be held downtown at the Eugene Library, on Friday, Nov. 4 at 6 [email protected]@

“I’ve spoken at many of the exhibits on the (Negro) Leagues, and Pride and Passion is perhaps the best one ever created,” said Larry Nester, co-founder of The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, [email protected]@ “It shows the impact that baseball has had on this country. It is an institution that changed the mindset of many Americans, black and white.”

American baseball was segregated from 1887 to 1947, at which point Jackie Robinson famously defied the color barrier by debuting with the Brooklyn [email protected]@ Integration of baseball began a slow and uneven path to the boundless status in modern teams as all-black teams began to disappear, with the last team disbanding in [email protected]@

For those missing the opportunity to see the exhibition while it is being hosted at Knight Library, it will also be on display from Nov. 30 to Jan. 27 at the Multnomah County Library in Portland, [email protected]@

Portland itself was one of the few Pacific Northwest cities to host a team: the Rosebuds; which disbanded after only two months — along with the whole coastal league at the time. The team was owned by Jesse [email protected]@, who happened to beat Jackie Robinson’s older brother in the 200-meter dash at the 1936 Olympics in [email protected]@see link below@@. Robinson’s brother, Matthew “Mack” Robinson, prepared for the Olympic games running track for none other than the University of [email protected]@


University freshman Becca Maher walks past the main display of, "Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience," on the second floor of the Knight Library, Monday Oct. 10. (Aaron Marineau/Oregon Daily Emerald)

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