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Special Program "Negro Leagues and Baseball" Being Held at the Public Library on Thursday

September 22, 2015- 12:55 pm


The Friends of the Public Library of Mount Vernon & Knox County will host a special program “Negro Leagues and Baseball” presented by Peter Rutkoff on Thursday, September 24, 7:00 p.m. at the main library, 201 N. Mulberry Street.

Professor Rutkoff is the Chair of the American Studies Program at Kenyon College. He has won numerous awards for excellence in teaching and has conducted seminars for secondary teachers. His books and articles cover a wide range of subjects, including the origins of Bebop, styles of baseball, and social theory in Europe and America. He has also published a variety of novels and short stories including: “Shadow Ball: A Novel of Baseball and Chicago”, and “Cooperstown Chronicles: Camp and Other Love Stories.”

The program will examine the fabled history of the Negro Leagues (1920-1954) which featured larger than life players like Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, and “Cool Papa” Bell. The heart of the presentation is this question about African American style: did the Negro Leaguers play ball in the same way, with the same intent and meaning, as their white contemporaries? Using examples from two regions - Birmingham, Alabama (the Birmingham Black Barons) and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (the Grays and Crawfords) - he will look at the cultural style and rhetoric of Negro League baseball.

The presentation will start with the classic video of the skit, "Who's On First," by Bud Abbot & Lou Costello.

The program is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Friends of the Library of Mount Vernon and Knox Counties as part of their 25th Anniversary. Refreshments, including Cracker Jacks for the first 25 attendees, and hot dogs and peanuts will be provided.
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