Pride and Passion: The African American Baseball Experience

chicago union giants african american baseball team, standing in a line near a ballpark fence
Baseball is one of America’s central institutions, and it has long reflected the complicated and painful history of race in the United States. “Pride and Passion: The African American Baseball Experience” tells the story of black baseball players in the U.S. over the past century and a half. Although many blacks played baseball with whites in the nineteenth century as amateurs and also played on minor league teams through the 1880s, black players were not allowed to compete with whites when major league baseball was created in the mid 1890s. To counter this discrimination, they organized teams made up entirely of black players and formed leagues that were known collectively as the Negro Leagues. The Negro Leagues had their highest level of success in the 1940s, and they continued into the 1960s, with the last team disbanding in 1961. When Jackie Robinson was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1945, though, integration in baseball began a slow and uneven path to the integrated status of modern day teams, and all-black teams began to disappear.

“Pride and Passion: The African American Baseball Experience” has been designated as part of the
National Endowment for the Humanities’ (NEH) “We the People” initiative, exploring significant events and themes in our nation’s history and culture and advancing knowledge of the principles that define America. It is a collaboration between the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Library Association, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. The exhibition is based upon a permanent exhibition of the same name on display at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, N.Y.

The traveling exhibition and tour are funded by a major grant from NEH to the American Library Association Public Programs Office.

This page brought to you by the American Library Association’s
Public Programs Office.

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