An art exhibit on display at the State Historical Museum features a unique view on one era of America’s pasttime. Jeff Morgan of the historical society, says it’s called "Shades of Greatness: Art Inspired by Negro Leagues Baseball," and is traveling modern art exhibit that showcases the history of the league from 1920 to about 1960 in the first half of the 20th Century.
Morgan says the exhibit took a different route in explaining the history of the Negro League. He says it’s comprised of modern art pieces developed after Negro League Baseball Museum invited 35 artists to come in hear about the Negroe League, Morgan says those artists where then ordered to go and create something to communicate what the Negro League meant to the African American communities and how it impacted the social fabric of America.
Morgan says a special guest will talk about the exhibit later this month. Ray Doswell, the education director of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, will come and share what it was like to put the exhibit together. Doswell will visit on August 25th and talk between five and seven p.m. Morgan says you can also learn about Iowa’s connection to the Negro Leagues.
Morgan says the museum has put together a display on the state’s connection to the Negro Leagues, including the barnstorming tour of Iowan Bob Feller of Van Meter and black star Stachel Paige. He says that tour drew 400-thousand people to 26 games in 32 cities. Morgan says that tour ended some of the talk that black players couldn’t compete with white players.
Morgan says Paige went on to be Bob Feller’s teammate on Cleveland team that won the World Series. He says Cap Anson of Marshalltown was on the other side of the issue, with some "racist views that help lay the foundation for the segregation of baseball." Morgan says Iowa also had a groundbreaker when it came to baseball.
While Jackie Robinson is known as the player who broke the major league color barrier, Bud Fowler who played for the Keokuk Westerns was the first African American baseball player at any level. The exhibit is free and the museum is open from nine A.M. to 4:30 Monday through Saturday, and noon to 4:30 on Sundays.