A fifty-minute program offered for museums, libraries, historical societies, colleges and other venues.
Black professional baseball originated in the1880s and reached an end shortly after Hall of Fame ball-player Jackie Robinson’s entry into the Major Leagues. This moving and informative program celebrates that history, and gives back to great ballplayers, so often overlooked, some of the acclaim that they so deserved. It locates this story into the larger Black and white world of which the Negro Leagues were a part. Selections from a documentary, produced by noted baseball historian Lawrence Hogan, lets players that Hogan was close to, speak about their playing days and their great love for the game. A special feature of this program has poet and playwright Kevin Kane presenting his original poem, “Breaking the Line with the Mudville Nine,” a Negro League update to that iconic American poem, “Casey at the Bat.”
Dr. Lawrence Hogan is Professor of History Emeritus from Union College in New Jersey, author of The Forgotten History of African-American Baseball, and principal author and editor of Shades of Glory, published by National Geographic, as well as several other books on the history of Black people in America. He is Executive Director of the documentary Before You Can Say Jackie Robinson: Black Baseball in America in the Era of the Color Line. His latest work is Harlem’s First Citizen: John Howard Johnson at St. Martin’s, A Priest and His People in the Making of Harlem.
“Historian Larry Hogan basks in baseball’s shadowed fields. He is a national treasure.”
-John Thorn, Official Historian of Major League Baseball.
Kevin Kane has made the better part of his living as a writer, musician and playwright. His Negro League version of “Casey at the Bat,” called “Breaking the Line with the Mudville Nine” was written for and first performed at the Cooperstown National Baseball Hall of Fame. He served as performance representative for his good friend, the noted playwright, August Wilson. He has taught performing arts at the Paul Lawrence Dunbar Middle School in the Bronx.
Lawrence Hogan and Kevin Kane have presented this entertaining and educational program at many public venues, including libraries and historical societies throughout New Jersey and New York, at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, at the Cooperstown National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black History and Culture, and both live and on Zoom, at the Yogi Berra Museum in Montclair, NJ.
Photo of Lawrence Hogan and Kevin Kane
Watch the “Before You Can Say Jackie Robinson” Documentary by Dr. Larry Hogan