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Rooting for the Home Team: Portsmouth Black history museum's new baseball exhibit

The Portsmouth Colored Community Library Museum introduces its "Rooting for the Home Team" exhibit to highlight Black professional baseball players in history.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — A Black history museum in Portsmouth is introducing a new mid-20th century exhibit to the community that highlights well-known baseball players from the Hampton Roads area.

The Portsmouth Colored Community Library Museum announced that it would be sharing the stories of professional baseball players such as Joseph "Mickey" Brown, Charles Peete, Brooks Lawrence, and Buck Leonard. It's a new exhibit, called "Rooting for the Home Team."

They were all popular names in Portsmouth's Black baseball scene. It was right around the time that Jackie Robinson made history and broke the "color line" in Major League Baseball, back in 1947.

Credit: National Parks Service
1946 Newark Eagles - Portsmouth native Charles Leon Ruffin middle row left end

The exhibit will cover baseball from the 1940s to the '60s.

"Baseball was king at that time," said Sam Allen, 85 of Norfolk. He played in the Negro Leagues in the late 1950s.

If you are interested in visiting the museum located at 904 Elm Avenue, it is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. 

For more information, please visit the Portsmouth Museums website.


Editor's Note: The above video is on file from Dec. 16, 2020.

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