Hall of Fame Exhibit Hits the Road

A traveling exhibit dedicated to the African-American baseball experience might be coming to a library near you.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and the American Library Association have teamed up to help tell the story of the African-American baseball experience through a national traveling panel exhibition that will visit 50 public and academic libraries over the next five years.

Based on a permanent exhibit by the same name in Cooperstown, Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience examines the challenges faced by African-American ballplayers as they formed their own leagues and later integrated the Major Leagues in the mid-20th century. The exhibit, which was organized by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and the ALA’s Public Programs Office, illustrates how these milestones in baseball were part of an ongoing process in American society. Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience was funded by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

1935 Pittsburgh Crawfords

The exhibit features photographs of artifacts and the stories of the participants as African-American players and owners changed the landscape of professional baseball. The exhibit recently concluded its first stop at the New York Public Library in New York City and will reopen at the Albion District Library in Albion, Mich., on March 18. The exhibit will make additional stops this year at Oak Park, Ill. (Oak Park Public Library, May 13-July 3); Chicago (at the ALA’s annual conference, July 9-15); Milwaukee (Milwaukee Public Library, July 22-Sept. 4); Des Moines, Iowa (Des Moines Public Library, Sept. 16-Oct. 30); and Casper, Wyo. (Natrona County Public Library, Nov. 11-Jan. 15).

"We are pleased to team with the American Library Association to share the indelible moments of African-American baseball history with communities across the country," said Jeff Idelson, president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. "The stories recounted in Pride and Passion are timeless and serve as a reminder of a segregated America and demonstrate how baseball integrated 16 years ahead of Martin Luther King’s march on Washington, D.C. This collaboration, which was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, will sustain the important American history lessons of segregation and give all people a better understanding of the heritage of our national pastime."

The panel exhibition is slated to stop in 28 states by the end of 2013.