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Negro League Exhibit @ Your Library

St. Louis, MO ... The St. Louis Public Library is proud to present the traveling exhibition, Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience at Central Library, 1301 Olive Street. The exhibit relives the history and pride of black baseball players in the U.S. over the past century and a half. The exhibit runs July 8-August 21. Exhibit hours are Mondays: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Tuesdays-Fridays: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. A reception for the exhibit will be held on July 11 at 1 p.m., followed by a presentation by sports writer Joe Posnanski at 2 p.m. The exhibit and reception are FREE and open to the public. No tickets are required.

The exhibition, composed of colorful freestanding panels featuring photographs of teams, players, original documents and artifacts, examines how African-American baseball players in the late 19th century formed their own professional leagues and barnstormed around the country, playing an exciting style of fast-running and power-hitting baseball that attracted huge audiences. Players such as Josh Gibson, James “Cool Papa” Bell, and Satchel Paige became famous, and teams such as the Kansas City Monarchs and St. Louis Stars were a focus of pride for the African-American community.

In addition, a variety of programming supports the exhibit such as Drs. Lawrence Hogan and Robert Cvornyek’s If It Ain’t Got That Swing: Black Baseball and Music in the Jim Crow Era. on July 18 at 2 p.m. at Central Library, 1301 Olive Street. The program explores the connection between baseball and music.

In the 1880s, more than 30 African Americans were on teams in baseball’s major and minor leagues. But during the 1887 season, league owners agreed to make no new contracts with African-American players until Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947. However, by the 1920s, black baseball had its own successful professional leagues.

In 1971, Satchel Paige became the first player inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame based solely on his performance in the Negro leagues.

Players in the Negro leagues were some of the most talented and inspiring sports figures of their day. This exhibition shows that, in spite of segregation, black players helped advance the game of baseball in many ways. The Kansas City Monarchs were the first to develop a successful lighting system for night games, five years before Major League Baseball played its first night game.

Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience, a traveling exhibition for libraries, was organized by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, New York, and the American Library Association Public Programs Office, Chicago. The traveling exhibition has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: great ideas brought to life.

The traveling exhibition is based on an exhibition of the same name on permanent display at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

For more information, call 206-6779.

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7/06/2009