Negro Leagues baseball barnstorms at Muskegon Museum of Art

‘Josh Gibson,’ 2006 oil on canvas original painting by Kadir Nelson for ‘We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball.’ Image courtesy of Muskegon Museum of Art.

‘Josh Gibson,’ 2006 oil on canvas original painting by Kadir Nelson for ‘We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball.’ Image courtesy of Muskegon Museum of Art.

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) – Artist and author Kadir Nelson’s paintings of Negro Leagues baseball players are going on display at the Muskegon Museum of Art.

A nationally touring exhibition We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball opened Thursday and runs through March 13. Nelson’s paintings were compiled in his book with the same title.

Nelson spent over a decade researching, writing and illustrating the history of Negro League baseball, from its beginnings in the 1920s through its decline after Jackie Robinson crossed over to the majors in 1947.

We Are the Ship tells the story of gifted athletes and determined owners; of racial discrimination and international sportsmanship; of fortunes won and lost; of triumphs and defeats on and off the field. It is a mirror for the social and political history of black America in the first half of the 20th century. Most of all, it is a story of the hundreds of unsung heroes of the Negro Leagues who overcame segregation, hatred, terrible conditions and low pay to do the one thing they loved most: play ball.

The exhibition features 33 paintings from Nelson’s book and 13 preliminary sketches. Negro Leagues memorabilia from Muskegon-area collections also will be on display.

Special events are planned in conjunction with the exhibition. Details are on the Muskegon Museum of Art’s website.

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Online:

Muskegon Museum of Art: http://www.muskegonartmuseum.org

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AP-CS-01-13-11 0401EST


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


‘Josh Gibson,’ 2006 oil on canvas original painting by Kadir Nelson for ‘We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball.’ Image courtesy of Muskegon Museum of Art.

‘Josh Gibson,’ 2006 oil on canvas original painting by Kadir Nelson for ‘We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball.’ Image courtesy of Muskegon Museum of Art.

‘Safe at Home,’ 2005 oil on canvas Collection of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum original painting by Kadir Nelson for ‘We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball.’ Image courtesy of Muskegon Museum of Art.

‘Safe at Home,’ 2005 oil on canvas Collection of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum original painting by Kadir Nelson for ‘We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball.’ Image courtesy of Muskegon Museum of Art.

Artist Kadir Nelson at work in his studio. Image courtesy of Muskegon Museum of Art.

Artist Kadir Nelson at work in his studio. Image courtesy of Muskegon Museum of Art.