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UW-Eau Claire to Host Exhibit Chronicling History of Baseball's Negro Leagues

RELEASED: Sept. 29, 2009

EAU CLAIRE — McIntyre Library at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will host "Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience," a national traveling exhibition that chronicles the remarkable history of baseball's Negro leagues and the challenges and successes of African-American baseball players.

The exhibit is scheduled to open at McIntyre Library on May 23, 2012, and will be on campus through July 6, 2012.

The traveling exhibit is based on an exhibition on permanent display at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.

In the 1880s, more than 30 African-Americans were on teams in baseball's major and minor leagues. During the 1887 season, league owners agreed to make no new contracts with black players. From then until 1947 — when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier — baseball was segregated. By the 1920s, black baseball had its own professional leagues. Legendary players like Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston, James Bell and Satchel Paige barnstormed around the country for decades, thrilling audiences with a fast-running, power-hitting style of play. The league grew into a multi-million dollar enterprise and a focus of pride in the black community.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and the American Library Association Public Programs Office organized the traveling exhibit with the help of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Great Ideas Brought to Life.

Colleen McFarland, assistant professor and university archivist, and Kati Tvaruzka, assistant professor and education librarian, co-authored another NEH grant for $2,500 to help defray the cost of the exhibit and programming.

McIntyre Library, in collaboration with the Chippewa Valley Museum, the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library and the Eau Claire Express baseball team, will offer free programs and other events for the public in connection with the "Pride and Passion" exhibition.

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JB/DW

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