Shades Of Glory The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball
WASHINGTON (Dec. 1, 2005)--A major work on the Negro leagues and African-American baseball, published in association with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, will be released by National Geographic Books in February 2006. It is timed to coincide with a special series of Hall of Fame events honoring Negro league players in 2006, commencing with the announcement of any new Hall of Fame inductees from the Negro leagues and the era before the Negro leagues, in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 27.
SHADES OF GLORY: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball (National Geographic Books, ISBN 0-7922-5306-X, February 2006, $26) tells the story of black baseball, from slavery days when it was played on plantations in the pre-Civil War South to the first organized games of the mid-19th century to the glory days of the Negro leagues in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. This comprehensive, 432-page work, illustrated with more than 50 vintage photographs, details the game’s rich cultural history and profiles the players, owners and fans that made baseball come alive for generations of African Americans.
The principal author is Lawrence D. Hogan, with co-authors Adrian Burgos, Leslie Heaphy, Neil Lanctot, Michael Lomax, James Overmyer, Robert Peterson, Robert Ruck and Lyle Wilson.
In his foreword, baseball historian Jules Tygiel writes, “Once the flower of a segregated African-American universe, the celebration of black baseball has blossomed into a national phenomenon. The realm of black baseball was a vibrant and colorful one. It offered a panorama of innovation and enterprise, entertainment and excitement, and unparalleled athletic achievement. Yet this spectacle resulted from and was made necessary by the nation’s worst impulses: the cancer of segregation and discrimination that plagued the United States in its Jim Crow years. In recalling the Negro leagues, we honor the resiliency and creativity of an oppressed people. We also celebrate the demise of that world and its replacement by a national pastime more fully characterized by equality of opportunity.”
SHADES OF GLORY is a compelling and lively history that combines vivid narrative, interesting anecdotes, biographical essays and scores of archival photographs of players, teams and evocative artifacts to recreate the excitement and passion of the Negro leagues. It traces the story of black baseball from its beginning on Southern plantations to the first great teams, such as the Cuban Giants, to the era of the vibrant barnstorming teams from the East Coast, Chicago and Cuba, to the glory days of the American league play and the decline of those leagues in the days of the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s.
Drawing on years of research, SHADES OF GLORY is the result of a comprehensive study on the history of African Americans in Baseball, from 1860-1960, commissioned by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and funded by a $250,000 grant from Major League Baseball. As part of this landmark study, the Hall of Fame supervised an effort to compile the most thorough and accurate statistics on Negro league players and games ever published, tracking down box scores for league-sanctioned games from thousands of entries from more than 120 period newspapers. Dick Clark of Ypsilanti, Mich., Lawrence Hogan of Fanwood, N.J., and Larry Lester of Kansas City, Mo., were co-directors of the Hall of Fame Project and the compilers of this groundbreaking statistical record of black baseball. A 20-page statistical component is included in SHADES OF GLORY.
The book heralds the achievements and contributions of players, scouts, managers, team owners and executives as well as sportswriters and fans of the game. It locates the baseball story in the context of African-American history as a whole. Names such as “Pop” Watkins, Moses Walker, Sol White, Grant Johnson, Abel Linares, John Henry “Pop” Lloyd, “Smokey” Joe Williams, James “Cool Papa” Bell, Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson and many others emerge in all their glory. The book is an important contribution to sports history and a moving tribute to the players and teams that wrote a unique chapter in the annals of baseball and American culture.
Lawrence D. Hogan, a senior professor of history at Union County College in New Jersey, will give a presentation on the history of black baseball at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 21 as part of the National Geographic Live! program of lectures.
A seven-city book tour featuring Hogan, Tygiel and several former Negro league players, African-American Hall of Famers and former African-American Major League Baseball players begins on Feb. 21. The cities are Atlanta; Birmingham, Ala; Chicago; Cleveland; Detroit; Kansas City, Kan.; and Washington, D.C.
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