Saturday, July 11, 2009

Pride and Passion: The African American Baseball Experience

I almost went to a management program at the American Library Association conference this morning, but my love of baseball (and my sweetheart) drew me to "Pride and Passion: The African American Baseball Experience" instead. I should listen to love more often. It was a wonderful program that I would not want to have missed. Not only did I hear Negro Leagues historian Lawrence Hogan recount his friendships with the old players, I heard Sharon Robinson tell about her new children's book about her father, Jackie Robinson, and I heard Kadir Nelson explain how he wrote and illustrated his award-winning We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball. I will want to see Robinson's book (illustrated by Nelson) this fall. I have seen We Are the Ship and will post a review soon.

Anytime time there is a baseball reunion, there are good stories. They resonate because they are loaded with more meaning than just sport. To Hogan baseball is American history and to Robinson it is also family history. For Nelson it is beauty and inspiration.

This celebration of African American baseball launches the ALA traveling exhibit "Pride and Passion: The African American Baseball Experience." Two sets of illustrated panels are traveling to libraries around the country. One is in St.Louis currently while the other is on the ground floor of McCormick Place during the conference. It will then go to Milwaukee. The tour continues into 2013.

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