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Great Plains Black History Museum tells the story of Negro Baseball League

Posted at 9:52 AM, Jun 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-05 10:52:02-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Apple pie and baseball are two things synonymous with American culture. Since the 1840s, the game of baseball has woven itself into American history.

Some names, like Babe Ruth, have become being immortalized in pop culture. Others like Hank Aaron, the Black player who eventually beat Ruth's home run record, have gone mostly unrecognized.

Eric L. Ewing, Executive Director of the Great Plains Black History Museum, says it's important for people to know the full history.

“What we talk about is American history, told through the lens of African Americans," Ewing said. "Because this is history and information that everybody should be aware of.”

That’s why he’s created an exhibit to recognize the Negro Baseball League, and the players who made the game their own.

“The National Baseball League made a gentleman’s agreement not to sign any African American players," Ewing said. "So they formed a league of their own.”

The "League of Their Own" exhibit features the men and women who played for the league all across the country. Ewing said stories, like that of Mamie "Peanut" Johnson who played alongside and against the men in the league, may surprise those only familiar with the all-women leagues popular at the time.

"She stood five foot, three inches, and he said 'Who’s this little peanut standing up here?'" Ewing says, retelling her story with some amusement. "And then she proceeded to strike him out.”

Ewing says he also wants people here in Omaha to know how their story intertwines with these trailblazers.

“Some of those players actually played here in Omaha," Ewing said. "Satchel Paige played here in Omaha, some of the other legends as well.”

The exhibit will be available until July 31st. The museum will be giving guided tours Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 1 pm-5 pm. Visitors are encouraged to call ahead at 402-932-7077.

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