May 23, 2003 Library of Congress to Offer Three Baseball History Programs in June

Film, Live Performance and Panel Discussion Highlight African Americans in Baseball.

Press Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
Public Contact: Cheryl Fox (202) 707-3303
Contact: Request ADA accommodations five days in advance at (202) 707-6362

The Library of Congress will offer three programs in June that highlight the achievements of African Americans in baseball. Sponsored by the Library's Public Service Collections Directorate, the programs will appeal to historians and afficionados of America's national pastime alike. These programs are free and open to the public.

A first-time screening at the Library of "The Jackie Robinson Story" (1950) will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 2, in the Pickford Theater, third floor, James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. This 75-minute biographical film stars baseball legend Jackie Robinson as himself, and actress Ruby Dee as his wife. The screenplay is by Arthur Mann, former assistant to Brooklyn Dodgers' general manager Branch Rickey. Rickey signed Robinson to a contract that would bring him to the major leagues in 1947. Reservations will be accepted beginning May 27 at (202) 707-5677.

A live performance of "Black Diamond: Satchel Paige and the Negro Baseball Leagues" will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 5, in the Coolidge Auditorium, on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. Presented in partnership with the Smithsonian's Discovery Theater, this musical was written and directed by local playwright Raquis Petree. Seating is limited and will be provided on a first-come basis. Advanced reservations are required at (202) 707-3303 for groups of 20 or more.

A panel discussion featuring former Negro League players and noted baseball historians will be held at noon on Thursday, June 5, in the Coolidge Auditorium. Participants include former players Wilmer Fields of the Washington, D.C., Homestead Grays, Ernest Burke of the Baltimore Elite Giants, and Mamie "Peanut" Johnson, one of only three females in the Negro Leagues. Historians Brad Snyder and David Wiggins will also participate in the discussion.

The Library of Congress collection of more than 126 million items includes more than 3,000 volumes on baseball; the papers of Jackie Robinson, Arthur Mann and Branch Rickey; an extensive newspaper collection that includes a title for every 20th-century and most 19th-century major league cities; and a significant collection of African American newspapers that covered the Negro Leagues. Online presentations titled "Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s" and "Baseball Cards, 1887 to 1914" may be viewed on the Library's American Memory Web site at Children and families can learn more about baseball by viewing the "Play Ball!" presentation on the America's Library Web site at


PR 03-088
ISSN 0731-3527