Discovering Greatness in the Negro Leagues

USA TODAY, August 2008 | Go to article overview

Discovering Greatness in the Negro Leagues


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"Discover Greatness: An Illustrated History of Negro Baseball Leagues". provides a broad national overview of a historic sports movement. A timeline accompanied by images and artifacts offers a contextual perspective on an impressive array of athletes and their teams. It features close to 90 framed photographs showcasing the history of African-American baseball from the late 1800s to the 1960s. The exhibit includes pennants, replica uniforms, posters, and tributes to National Hall of Fame inductees.

The exhibition is divided into five sections: The Beginnings of Black Baseball (Pre-1900), The Great Independents (1901-1919), A League of Their Own (1920-1931), Heyday (1932-1946), and The Color Line Falls (1947).

What prompted the birth of the Negro Leagues? "While it would be quite a stretch to say that professional baseball in the North was integrated between the end of the Civil War and 1890," explains Negro League History 101, "quite a number of African-Americans played alongside white athletes on minor league and major league teams during the period.

"Although the original National Association of Base Ball Players formed in 1867, had banned black athletes, by the late 1870s, several African-American players were active on the rosters of white, minor league teams, but most of these players fell victim to regional prejudices and an unofficial color ban after brief stays with white teams. …

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