The 'Negro Leagues Beisbol Exhibit' arrived at West Virginia University and I had the great honor of having my Minnie Minoso baseball glove artwork included and being there for the Opening Day festivities.
The exhibit depicts the lives of athletes of color during racial segregation in the United States, focusing on African American Baseball and Hispanic Culture 1860-1960. It began a two month-long stay at the WVU Erickson Alumni Center on Sunday, Sept. 18.
The Opening Day event was highlighted by the keynote presentation from Pedro Sierra, a former pitcher in the Negro Baseball Leagues and friend of his fellow Cuban countryman, Minnie Minoso.
Minnie Minoso is the featured player in the exhibit, which highlights Spanish-speaking players in the Negro Leagues.
Dr. Robert A. Waterson, Director of the West Virginia University Center for Democracy and Citizenship Education within the College of Education and Human Services, brought the exhibit to Morgantown.
A mission of the exhibit is to make available to teachers and their students across West Virginia teaching materials, videos and visits to the exhibit with an aim to keep alive these aspects of history that are challenging and not always convenient to discuss, but necessary for growth and improvement as a society.
As part of the educational component of the exhibition, a state-wide art and essay contest was held for elementary school students to express their thoughts about baseball and civil rights.
I was asked to take part in awarding the winners, including this talented 6th grader, who created a wonderful drawing of Jackie Robinson. I only wish I had a photo of it.
Along with my Minnie Minoso baseball glove art, the exhibit includes important artifacts from my friend and Negro Leagues collector, John Wakelin.
These items include players’ personal letters and photos, memorabilia from Latin American teams, rare cards and game programs which add an important human touch to the exhibit.
Players from WVU's Mountaineers baseball team joined in the festivities and were great fun to talk with and were curious about the artifacts.
And a baseball art road trip wouldn't be complete without seeing some baseball, here provided by the Mountaineers at their scenic stadium. The ballpark is also home to the West Virginia Black Bears, in the Pirates' minor league system.
The weekend was full of opportunities to meet friendly WVU students, staff and administrators and fellow baseball fans.
Big thanks to WVU's CDCE and Dr. Waterson for hosting my visit.