Long Live Their Legacy program salutes Negro League Baseball
In celebration of Black History Month and to honor Negro League Baseball, the Pirates presented their third annual Long Live Their Legacy series during the month of February.
In connection with the program, Pirates Community Outreach Coordinator Joel Gray made presentations at 25 different sites around the city -- including three universities, two inner-city libraries, Pittsburgh's Community Intensive Supervision Program, African-American Chamber of Commerce of Western PA, East End United Community Center, and several others. His efforts helped more than 3,000 people learn about the history of Negro League baseball, its ties to Pittsburgh, and the significant role it played in baseball history.
One of the presentations took place at the Power Center on the campus of Duquesne University on February 8 before an audience of more than 75 people that included university leadership, professors, students and parents.
"The presentation brought an invaluable amount of history and perspective," said Jeff Mallory, Duquesne's Assistant Vice President for Diversity, Inclusion and Student Advancement. "Joel was really clear and quick to acknowledge that the structure and organization of Negro League Baseball was phenomenal. It was highly efficient and well organized."
Pittsburgh was one of the few cities that had two Negro League teams -- the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords -- and both thrived before Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
Many Negro League games were played at Greenlee Field in Pittsburgh's Hill District, not far from the Duquesne campus.
"It's probably a site we pass almost daily. Most people here probably don't even realize how close they are to that field," Mallory said. "It made us think about expanding the program to include a walking tour at some point.
"The knowledge that Joel provides is great, and it's important that he's taking the time to do this. He's freezing time for us as an audience and allowing us to revisit history. Joel does an excellent job of helping people understand Negro League history."