We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball (Hardcover)
— From Jacob
Written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson, whose beautiful oil paintings you may have seen on New Yorker covers, We Are The Ship is an immersive, moving and highly educational account of Negro League Baseball. Nelson's gorgeous illustrations powerfully evoke the era and the players who defined it, from stars like Buck O'Neill and Satchel Paige, to lesser known but fascinating characters like Norman "Turkey" Stearns and James "Cool Papa" Bell. We Are The Ship is essential for any lover of baseball history, and a powerful tribute to the players who were denied the opportunity to show the whole world their incredible talent, but nevertheless created an indelible legacy for themselves.
"We are the ship; all else the sea."-Rube Foster, founder of the Negro National League
The story of Negro League baseball is the story of gifted athletes and determined owners; of racial discrimination and international sportsmanship; of fortunes won and lost; of triumphs and defeats on and off the field. It is a perfect mirror for the social and political history of black America in the first half of the twentieth century. But most of all, the story of the Negro Leagues is about hundreds of unsung heroes who overcame segregation, hatred, terrible conditions, and low pay to do the one thing they loved more than anything else in the world: play ball.
Using an "Everyman" player as his narrator, Kadir Nelson tells the story of Negro League baseball from its beginnings in the 1920s through its decline after Jackie Robinson crossed over to the majors in 1947. The voice is so authentic, you will feel as if you are sitting on dusty bleachers listening intently to the memories of a man who has known the great ballplayers of that time and shared their experiences. But what makes this book so outstanding are the dozens of full-page and double-page oil paintings-breathtaking in their perspectives, rich in emotion, and created with understanding and affection for these lost heroes of our national game.
We Are the Ship is a tour de force for baseball lovers of all ages.
About the Author
Kadir Nelson's paintings have been exhibited in many galleries and museums around the world, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Museum of Tolerance, and the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences in Los Angeles; the Museum of African American History in Detroit; the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum in Washington D.C.; and the Society of Illustrators and the Studio Museum in Harlem in New York, as well as many others.
Nelson is the illustrator of many books for children. Among the best known are Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford, an NAACP Image Award winner, a Caldecott Honor Book, and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner; Ellington Was Not a Street by Ntozake Shange, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner; Please, Baby, Please and Please, Puppy, Please, by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee; and Will Smith's Just the Two of Us, also an NAACP Image Award winner. We Are the Ship is the first book Nelson has written and illustrated.
Kadir Nelson lives with his family in California. Visit his Web site, www.kadirnelson.com.