"If It Ain’t Got That Swing” Music and Baseball in the Jim Crow Era

Did you know Louis Armstrong and Cab Calloway owned Negro League baseball teams? Discover the parallel stories of Black baseball players and Black musicians from the 1910s through the 1940's.

On Saturday, September 8, 2:00 PM
Dr. Lawrence Hogan and Dr. Robert Cvornyek, along with former Negro Leaguer Jim Robinson, will present their program, "It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't
Got That Swing: Black Baseball and Black Music in the Jim Crow Era"
at the Toms River Branch of the Ocean County Library.  The program focuses on the parallel story and experience of Black baseball players and Black musicians from the 1910s through the 1940s.  The presentation is, in conjunction with Pride and Passion: the African American Baseball Experience traveling exhibit.

“Much like the correlation of hip-hop and basketball in this day and age, jazz and baseball was very much the same in the 30’s and 40’s,” said Robert Cvornyek, a nationally-respected baseball scholar who will be speaking at the Ocean County Library, Toms River on Saturday, Sept 8 at 2 PM along with baseball scholar, Lawrence Hogan.

"It Don't Mean a
Thing if it Ain't Got that Swing and Music in the Jim Crow Era
sound and visual clips from the time period in which jazz music was so closely
associated with the black baseball league. 

There is a long history in black baseball. “We have
testimony that baseball was being played on plantations, during the mid-1800s,”
Hogan says.” In the 1840s and 1850s African-Americans were playing ball on
dusty diamonds on plantations throughout the South.

As the game evolved and African-Americans began to migrate
from the South to the North, a connection with baseball's Negro League and
swing jazz music was born.

Hogan discusses the huge migration of blacks from the south
into the north in the early 20th century commonly referred to the “Jim Crowe
Era. During this time in history black baseball players were influencing jazz
music, more specifically swing jazz.

Cvyorneyk highlights the correlations between
music and baseball, including the idea of improvisation. The players and
musicians had a tremendous relationship because they were on the road together; the musicians would watch the players play in the afternoon and the players would watch the musicians at night.

Dr. Lawrence Hogan is Senior Professor of History at Union County College Dr. Hogan was a key consultant in the creation of the Pride and Passion exhibit Dr. Hogan has taught, researched, written about, and spoken in the field of African American history for more than 40 years. His 2006 book Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball marks a truly significant advance in Negro Leagues scholarship.

Robert Cvornyek is a Professor of History at Rhode Island
College, where he specializes in Sport History. He is the curator of a
traveling exhibit titled "Black Grays and Colored Giants: Black Baseball
in Rhode Island" His most recent publications include an edited edition of
Effa Manley's Negro Baseball...Before Integration and Baseball in Newark.

Jim Robinson who played with the Indianapolis Clowns and Kansas City Monarchs during his Negro Leaguecareer and was a standout at North Carolina A&T.

Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience, a traveling exhibition for libraries, organized by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, New York, and the American Library Association Public Programs Office, Chicago with grant support from the National Endowment for the Humanities will be on display at the Toms River branch of the Ocean County Library, 101 Washington Street, Toms River, currently until September 28.

The program is free and open to the public.   For further information or to register
please call 732-349-6200 or go to www.theoceancountylibrary.org

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