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We Are The Ship: The Story Of Negro League Baseball

By David Dean



David Dean•Wed, May 18, 2011

LUBBOCK, TX-The Museum of TTU is pleased to present the exhibition, We Are The Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, original paintings by Kadir Nelson, on view June 5 through July 31, 2011, in the Balcony Gallery of the Museum, located at 3301 4th Street and Indiana Avenue, where parking and admission are free.

Award-winning artist and author Kadir Nelson spent seven years researching, writing and creating handsome paintings to be included in the brilliantly illustrated book, We are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, which is dedicated to the preservation of the history of the Negro Baseball Leagues. During the process of creating the book, Nelson interviewed former Negro League players, traveled to museums around the country, poured over old photographs, firsthand testimonies and documentaries, collected baseball memorabilia, sports equipment and uniforms, then posed and photographed himself in them, all with the intention of putting himself in the shoes of a former Negro Leaguer to recreate an authentic depiction of life in the Negro Baseball Leagues.

The exhibition is the story of Negro League baseball the story of gifted athletes and determined owners; of racial discrimination and international sportsmanship; of fortunes won and lost; of triumphs and defeats on and off the field. It is a perfect mirror for the social and political history of black America in the first half of the twentieth century. But most of all, the story of the Negro Leagues is about hundreds of unsung heroes who overcame segregation, hatred, terrible conditions, and low pay to do the one thing they loved more than anything else in the world: play ball.

Kadir Nelson tells the story of Negro League baseball from its beginnings in the 1920s through its decline after Jackie Robinson crossed over to the majors in 1947. What makes this exhibition so outstanding are the dozens of oil “paintings” breathtaking in their perspectives, rich in emotion, and created with understanding and affection for these lost heroes of our national game.

The showing at the Museum of Texas Tech University is part of a national tour over two and a half year period, containing approximately 33 paintings and 13 sketches from the book, We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, by Kadir Nelson. The tour was developed and managed by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services, an exhibition tour development company in Kansas City, MO.

To request special assistance, contact the Museum Education office at, or call 742-2432.

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