A grand opening reception at 5 pm, Tuesday, April 9 will celebrate the exhibit on the first floor of the Administration Building. The event, which is free and open to the public, will include remarks from exhibit organizers.
The exhibit provides a fascinating overview of the Negro Leagues and introduce fans to America’s unsung baseball heroes, including Satchel Paige, Cool Papa Bell and Josh Gibson. Fans will experience the social difficulty of the times, gain knowledge of the amazing teams and individual talent and cheer the triumphant spirit exhibited by these courageous athletes as they persevered to play America’s national pastime. In the process, they helped change the game and America, too.
Dr. Terry Long, the director of Northwest’s School of Health Science and Wellness, said a combination of interests motivated the university to host the exhibit, including its application to a variety of academic programs.
“This particular exhibit relates to studies in recreation, sport management, applied health sciences, human services and history, just to name a few,” Long said. “Second, baseball, as with any sport, has the potential to unify people and open doors for conversations that might not occur in other contexts. The exhibit brings awareness to the significant baseball accomplishments of those involved in the league, but also sheds light on the cultural and historical significance of the league in regard to the civil rights movement. Creating the opportunity for the community to learn about Negro Leagues history is part of our campus commitment to equity and inclusion.”
The exhibit follows a visit last September by Bob Kendrick, the director of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, to present the fall Ploghoft Diversity Lecture at Northwest. It is sponsored by Northwest’s Ploghoft Diversity Lecture Series, the school of health science and wellness and the office of diversity, equity and inclusion.
“The Ploghoft lecture series has been dedicated to the development of culturally responsive teaching,” Dr. David Kiene, the chair of the Ploghoft Committee and an assistant professor of professional education, said. “This exhibit will show our students the dedication of those individuals who demonstrated the commitment and perseverance to not let circumstances derail their dreams. Our teacher candidates must be able to motivate the students they will be working with in the future, even when those students are facing difficult odds to be successful. Instilling the grit and determination in marginalized students, modeled by these Negro League athletes, is an important component to teach our preservice teachers.”