Explore the History of Black Baseball with the NJ State Library

Batter up! The boys of summer are taking to the plate, and baseball season is in full swing. As America’s pastime, baseball has played a role in Americans’ social and cultural lives for decades. Baseball has evolved over the years to become a more inclusive, diverse space, but there was a time when bigotry and inequality were the names of the game. Over the generations, however, thanks to the endurance and perseverance of activists who came before us, all are welcome to step up to the plate and be a part of the fun. You’re invited to join the New Jersey State Library for a fascinating tale through history, uncovering the oft-forgotten achievements of the Black professional leagues.

On Tuesday, June 13th, you’re invited to the New Jersey State Library for an engaging conversation about the history of Black Baseball. This webinar will be held virtually on Zoom from 12 pm to 1 pm, so if you want to participate, sign on to join the conversation! Registration for the event is available here: Register – NJSL. Throughout the afternoon, guests will have a chance to hear about the emergence of Black baseball leagues and their profound impact on the history and development of the sport. The companies began in 1880 and continued until the historic day Jackie Robinson was welcomed into the Major Leagues. Although this portion of baseball is often overlooked by the history books, with just a bit of exploration, you’ll find that this foundational portion of the sport’s history is worth uncovering.

The webinar will be hosted by Dr. Lawrence Hogan, a Professor of History Emeritus from Union College in New Jersey, author of The Forgotten History of African-American Baseball, and principal author and editor of Shades of Glory, published by National Geographic, as well as several other books on the history of Blacks in America. In addition, he is the Executive Director of the documentary Before You Can Say Jackie Robinson: Black Baseball in America in the Era of the Color Line. His latest work is “Harlem’s First Citizen:” John Howard Johnson at St. Martin’s, A Priest and His People in the Making of Harlem.

During the afternoon, guests will also have the opportunity to enjoy a poetry reading by poet and playwright Kevin Kane. Kane will be presenting his original poem, “Breaking the Line with the Mudville Nine,” a Negro League update to that iconic American poem, “Casey at the Bat.” Kevin Kane is a playwright, poet, musician, and writer moving audiences with his profound creativity. This poignant poem’s first reading was at Cooperstown National Baseball Hall of Fame. In addition, he served as a performance representative for his good friend, the noted playwright August Wilson.

This webinar is an excellent chance to hear from experts on the history of Black baseball and genuinely reflect upon and appreciate the rich history that led us to the current moment. This webinar will hit it out of the park, so be sure to mark your calendars today!

If you have any questions before attending, please get in touch with the New Jersey State Library at (609) 278-2640 or visit their website, https://www.njstatelib.org/, for additional details.

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