A traveling exhibit depicting the lives of athletes of color during racial segregation in the United States is making its way to Morgantown. The exhibit, titled “Negro Leagues Beisbol: African American Baseball and Hispanic Culture 1860-1960,” will begin its two month-long stay at the Erickson Alumni Center on Sunday, Sept. 18.

The Opening Day event is from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and will feature a special guest visit from Mr. Pedro Sierra, a former player in the Negro Baseball Leagues. Related community events will take place through September and October, including teacher workshops, special school sessions and an all-day documentary film festival (Sept.19).

Dr. Robert A. Waterson, Director of the West Virginia University Center for Democracy and Citizenship Education within the College of Education and Human Services, is responsible for bringing the exhibition to Morgantown from its home at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. He says that he grew up idolizing players like Minnie Minoso, an Afro-Latino player for the Chicago White Sox who got his start in the Negro Leagues.

“Many things that I’ve done over the years, in terms of programs, illustrate a part of history that is rarely discussed and never taught,” Waterson said. “My primary motivation is to keep alive these aspects of history that are challenging and not always convenient to discuss, but so very necessary if we’re going to grow and improve as a society. We cannot forget the struggles and difficulties that others have gone through, in this case, to play a simple game of baseball.”

The exhibit, which will be housed in the Nutting Gallery at the WVU Erickson Alumni Center, highlights Spanish-speaking players in the Negro Leagues during an era which saw intense racial segregation and the beginnings of the civil rights movement. Among other artifacts, the bilingual exhibit will feature replica uniforms, players’ personal letters and photos, an artist’s replica of Minnie Minoso’s glove, memorabilia from Latin American teams and baseball themed artworks.

“The exhibit is very much like a mini museum. It depicts the players lives, what their hopes and dreams were,” Waterson said. “Participants will get a wealth of knowledge and information, but most importantly, they will get a feeling for these individuals as real people.”

Dr. Raymond Doswell, Vice President of Curatorial Services at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, is enthusiastic about the partnership with WVU. “It is wonderful that so many teachers and their students will learn about the history of the Negro Baseball Leagues and the connection with the Spanish-speaking players and their Hispanic culture,” he said. “It is one of our mission goals to get this exhibit into the universities across the country, and West Virginia University will be the very first.”

Admittance for the general public is free and extends from Sept. 18, 2016- Oct. 28, 2016. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the exhibit is open from 1:30-7 p.m. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the exhibit is open from 8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Guided tours will be provided by Dr. Waterson and WVU graduate students affiliated with the CDCE.

For more information about the exhibit or the WVU Center for Democracy and Citizenship Education (CDCE), please contact—Robert A. Waterson Robert.waterson@mail.wvu.edu.

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CONTACT: Christie Zachary; Director of Marketing and Communications, College of Education and Human Services; 304-293-0224; Christie.Zachary@mail.wvu.edu

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