Summer is upon us, baseball season is in full swing, and the Oak Park (Ill.) Public Library is hosting the “Pride and Passion: The African American Baseball Experience” traveling exhibit from May 13 through July 3. This exhibit highlights the successes and challenges of African American baseball players in the Negro League. The Oak Park Public Library has scheduled a number of special events and speakers throughout the duration of the traveling exhibit, including events that appeal to different age demographics. There will be lectures for adults, as well as story times well-suited for children. Numerous family-friendly films will be shown through the end of June, such as Kings on the Hill: Baseball’s Forgotten Men, Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch, Angels in the Outfield, The National Pastime, The Court Martial of Jackie Robinson, and The Bingo Long Traveling All Stars & Motor Kings.
Special events and speakers scheduled during this event showcase accomplished authors and scholars. Larry Lester, co-founder of the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City, will speak about the role of African Americans in the development of baseball in Chicago. Jim Coates, sports scholar from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, will present “Playing for Fun: Humorous Stories from the Negro League.” Chicago author William Brashler will host a discussion of his novel, The Bingo Long Traveling All Stars and Motor Kings, which was published in 1973 and made into a movie in 1976. Dr. Leslie A. Heaphy of Kent State University, Ohio, a Negro League scholar who has been involved in many publications about the Negro League, will also host an event.
In keeping with the programmatic theme of baseball, the library is currently hosting another photographic exhibit, “Wrigley Field & the Chicago Cubs,” which will tell the story of the hometown heroes through June 30.