A league of their own

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July 6th, 2011

Omaha, NE – A League of Our Own: The Story of Negro League Baseball is now on display at the Love’s Jazz and Art Center in North Omaha.

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Eight large paintings of men of color – some with bats in hands and others wearing baseball caps, make up a collection of about 30 to 40 pieces. Each tells the story of the Negro League and its key players and teams. During the 1880s, because of segregation, black men were not allowed to play in the American Major Leagues, so a group of men formed a league of their own.

A League of Our Own runs through August 25th at the Love's Jazz and Art Center (Photo by Angel Martin)

“This was the sport before football and basketball, said Janet Ashley, the Love’s Jazz and Art Center’s program and operations director. “This was the sport.” Ashley has been conducting tours of the upstairs gallery at Love’s Jazz, where the exhibit is on display. The exhibit was curated by Neville Murray, the former executive director of Love’s Jazz.

“They didn’t make a lot of money, during their time,” Ashley explained of the early Negro League players. “They didn’t get to stay in plush hotels. And yet, because of the love of the sport and the give they had to play the sport, they stayed with it until the opportunity came for Jackie Robinson to be part of Major League Baseball. And now you see what we have today.”

Ashley said the exhibit is very educational, and includes a timeline and a short documentary called Only the Ball was White.

“I speak on education because you don’t have many African American boys playing baseball anymore,” she said. “I feel like this is a good way for them to know the history and reconnect with that sport.”

A League of Our Own is now on display, and runs through August 25th at the Love’s Jazz and Art Center in North Omaha.

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