The History of the Negro Leagues Baseball Era and Players

A lecture by Derrick C. Jones ‘79
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 / 7:00pm
Turchin Center for the Visual Arts
Free event

After completing 33 successful years in public education as a special education teacher and administrator, Derrick C. Jones ’79 is taking the time to share his hobby with schools and communities in both North Carolina and Virginia. Over the past 20 years he has researched and developed an interactive program, “The History of the Negro Leagues Baseball Era and Players.”

Long before the integration of major league sports, African Americans had their own baseball diamonds and stars. This period of segregated play, initiated with a gentleman’s agreement between owners and ended by Jackie Robinson’s arrival in 1947, is sometimes referred to as the Negro Leagues era. The Negro Leagues were an important institution in the fight for civil rights for African-American athletes. However, that era is seldom taught in public schools, leaving this important part of our national history largely unknown.

In his interactive lecture, Jones will share the remarkable stories of Josh Gibson, “Cool Papa” Bell, John Henry “Pop” Lloyd, Jackie Robinson and others. Audiences of all ages will find the material accessible and enjoyable. History buffs and scholars alike will probably learn something they didn’t know about the ordeals and triumphs of the courageous athletes who shone outside the spotlight that was trained on the major leagues from 1920-1960.

As an extension of his research, Jones began to gather memorabilia from the Negro Leagues era. His collection has grown into an extensive assortment Negro Leagues jerseys, baseball mitts, vintage trading cards, autographs, photo collections, figurines, and numerous other Negro Leagues collectibles and artifacts. Many are authentic to the period; some are reproductions. Jones’ “traveling museum” will be housed in the Multicultural Center and International Hallway of Plemmons Student Union, April 13-17 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Jones said, “I would love to return to Appalachian to address the students about their investment in the college experience. Now approaching 35 years since my graduation, I feel I am an example of how carrying and dedicated people from Appalachian and the College of Education can have a major impact on a young person’s life.”

Mr. Jones’ “Traveling Museum of Artifacts from the Negro Leagues Era and Players” will be on display in the Multicultural Center and in the International Hallway on the first floor of Plemmons Student Union from April 13-April 17, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Admission is free and the public is invited.

The Derrick C. Jones Residency on the Negro Leagues Baseball Era is sponsored by the Office of Equity, Diversity and Compliance, with support from Belk Library and Information Commons, McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, and Dan’l Boone Inn.

Hosts for Jones’ presentations and lectures include the Boone Mennonite Brethren Church, Appalachian’s Black Faculty and Staff Association, the Diversity Celebration, the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, Mabel School, the Department of Sociology and Watauga County Library.

For additional information, call 828-262-2144 or email Susan King at