Before Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier, threats of violence kept him from playing in Central Florida.
Robinson also starred in one of Orlando’s biggest games ever – a 1949 exhibition that attracted a standing-room-only crowd at Carter Street Park, the home of the city’s Negro Leagues team.
Two generations later, Robinson’s historic achievements and struggles are chronicled in an upcoming exhibit at the University of Central Florida’s main library. The exhibit also features photographs and memorabilia from the Orlando All-Stars, which competed in the Negro Leagues throughout the 1940s and 1950s.
“We had to have a certain amount of self-discipline to survive while traveling around to different cities under the ill winds of racism,” recalled Bob “Peach Head” Mitchell, one of four former Negro Leagues players who will visit UCF on March 19. “It’s very important for kids today to hear those stories.”
“Pride & Passion: The African American Baseball Experience” tells the story of African-American baseball players in the United States from the Civil War through the present, and it relates their experiences to the struggle for civil rights.
The exhibit will open Friday, March 5, and run through Thursday, April 15. Admission to the exhibit and several related lectures and discussions will be free.
To read more about the exhibit and see a full schedule of events, click here.