The National Pastime in Black and White: The Negro Baseball Leagues, 1867-1955
January 30 through March 12, 2006
Opening reception on February 10, in conjunction with 2nd Friday Art Night
Historic Arkansas Museum is proud to present The National Pastime in Black and White: The Negro Baseball Leagues, 1867-1955. This traveling exhibit is organized and toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.
Jackie Robinson broke the color line in baseball—the unwritten rule made in the 1890s barring African Americans from playing in the major leagues—when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Yet until recently, even avid fans of the game knew little or nothing about the Negro leagues, a rich culture of black baseball preceding the Robinson era by more than a half-century.
The National Pastime in Black and White: The Negro Baseball Leagues, 1867–1955 tells the fascinating story of the Negro leagues during segregation. The exhibit’s 60 photographs and selection of rare artifacts acquaint visitors with great athletes who were good enough—but not white enough—to play in the major leagues. These athletes didn’t wait for the door to “organized” baseball to open; they formed their own teams and leagues and played the game with as much enthusiasm as their white counterparts.
The Negro leagues provided a venue for African American ballplayers (and heroes for African American fans) prior to the desegregation of major league baseball, which preceded all the major civil rights landmarks of the 1950s and 1960s. This and other social aspects of the Negro leagues are examined, such as the roles of teams and players in their communities, the importance of weekly black newspapers and barnstorming.
To learn more about this topic, visit one of these websites:
Major League Baseball
National Baseball Hall of Fame
Negro League Baseball
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum