Monday, January 30, 2012


Jimmy Winkfield
(Natl Museum of Racing)
THEY WERE FIRST: African Americans in Sports
2/18/2012 - 4/12/2012

Genius comes in many forms- some people are mental giants, others are gifted in the realm of creativity others are physical geniuses gifted with a physical prowess that allows them to be the best at athletic competitions and games. 

For Black History Month 2012, I wanted to focus on the great athletes that have come out of the African American communities, wanted to highlight the athletic giants that led the way for the current LeBron James, Venus and Serena Williams, Tiger Woods and so forth. 

Someone came first- some African American athlete was the first to be chosen, was the first to run faster, jump higher, the first to show that African Americans could compete with whites on the playing field if given a chance, the first to show that girls could throw like the boys. This exhibit is for them and for sports enthusiasts everywhere.

When first beginning the research for the They Were First: Blacks in Sports exhibit, a concerted effort was made to seek out as many sources as possible to help in putting together the exhibit. Below find just a few titles that were used as the basis of research.

The great black jockeys: the lives and times of the men who dominated America's first national sport
The Great Black Jockeys is the first book about the lives of forgotten jockeys. In The Great Black Jockeys, the exploits and courage of America's earliest and best athletes are finally remembered.

Wink : the incredible life and epic journey of Jimmy Winkfield /
This vivid biography of a great black jockey who was banned from American racing, and who found a new life in Europe during turbulent times.

A hard road to glory : a history of the African-American athlete
A Hard Road to Glory, a three-volume work is an authoritative treatment of the history of Black athletes in the US. Each volume is thoroughly illustrated with multiple glossy inserts.

Say it Loud: an illustrated history of the Black athlete
Say It Loud pays tribute not only to such household names as Jackie, Ali, Venus, and Serena but to the forgotten many who made their success and glory possible.

Out of the Shadows: a biographical history of African American athletes
The original essays in the comprehensive collection examine the lives and sports of famous and not-so-famous African American men and women athletes from the nineteenth century to today.

Fleet Walkers Divided Heart: the life of baseball’s first black major leaguer
Moses Fleetwood Walker was the first black American to play baseball in a major league.

The Most Famous Woman In baseball: Effa Manley and the Negro Leagues
From 1936 to 1948, Manley ran the Negro league Newark Eagles that her husband, Abe, owned for roughly a decade.

The California Winter League : America's first integrated professional baseball league
The California Winter League was the first to bring together Negro League teams and white professional teams in one league. This work is the first complete history of the California Winter League from its murky beginnings around 1912 to its golden years from 1924 to 1935 to its final demise in the mid 1940s.

Charging the net : a history of Blacks in tennis from Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe to the Williams sisters
The detailed, yet highly accessible history of blacks in tennis from the 1940s to the present is also the story of the modern game from a new viewpoint. Players from Australia, Africa, and France are included, as well as African Americans.

African American golfers during the Jim Crow era
Authors Dawkins and Kinloch reconstruct the world of segregated African American golf from the 1890s forward. Along the way they show the pivotal role of heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis, who said the toughest fight of his life was against segregated golf.

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