Three Rivers History Explorers Meetings
Tuesday April 26th
Tuesday May 31st
Tuesday June 28th
Whence the Methodists? - presentation by Linda Morgan Clark
TUESDAY MARCH 29TH
The Hidden History of African-American Baseball in Oklahoma
The Hidden History of African-American Baseball in Oklahoma is the topic for meeting of the Three Rivers History Explorers on Tuesday March 29th at 7:00 p.m. at Three Rivers Museum 220 Elgin, Muskogee.
W. Jacob "Jake" Cornwell has uncovered a hidden history of African-American baseball in Oklahoma. After years of hearing about teams like the Tulsa Black Oilers and the Oklahoma City Black Indians, Cornwell decided to embark on a project to satiate his own personal interests. He quickly realized that many people around the state never knew Oklahoma had organized Negro League teams. Cornwell also discovered that a black baseball vacancy existed within Oklahoma and professional Negro League histories. After thorough research, he found a thriving world of organized teams and leagues that began during territorial days in the 1890s and stretched into the Civil Rights era in the 1960s. To establish the rich legacy of various teams and past players, Cornwell traveled all over Oklahoma and to nearby states to conduct interviews and search various archives. Over the past three years, he has assembled a library of personal interviews with former players, their descendants, and fans who watched black baseball games. An advocate for historic preservation, he has also documented various past ballparks where teams played. In December 2015, Cornwell finished his master's thesis, "Playing between the Lines: An Examination of Negro League Baseball in Oklahoma, 1892 to 1965," that explores black baseball around the state. Recently, his work won the Outstanding Thesis on Oklahoma History Award given by the Oklahoma Historical Society.
Throughout spring 2016, Cornwell has embarked on a speaking tour and recently assembled two separate exhibits to commemorate teams and players in Oklahoma's segregated leagues. In February, he loaned his collection to ONEOK corporation for their Black History Month exhibit. Most recently, Cornwell moved the display to the Stillwater Public Library. It will be up until mid-April as part of the community reads program "Two Books, One Community" featuring the novels The Great Gatsby and Fire in Beulah. He plans to continue to travel with the exhibit throughout the year as part of his speaking tour.
The History Explorers meeting is free and the public is welcome.