We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball

by Kadir Nelson

“Seems like we’ve been playing baseball for a mighty long time. At least... read more

“Seems like we’ve been playing baseball for a mighty long time. At least as long as we’ve been free. Baseball’s the best game there ever was. It’s a beautifully designed game that requires a quick wit, a strong body, and a cool head.” So says “Everyman,” the narrator and history teller in this impressive work. The strong love for baseball that pulses through the text is matched by a passion for the history of the Negro Leagues. As the narrator recounts important games and discriminatory attitudes, he also enlivens memories of key players and their personalities and evokes a stirring sense of place—be it on a baseball diamond shimmering in the heat, on a rowdy bus ride, or in the midst of a heated conversation between game officials. The book’s title comes from Rube Foster, founder of the Negro National League, who stated, “We are the ship; all else the sea,” in reference to the creation of a separate organization for Black baseball players. Likewise, Kadir Nelson’s We Are the Ship is a bold and triumphant declaration expressed through vivid narration and breathtaking oil paintings rich in color and emotion. (Age 10 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2009

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