Jennifer's Reviews > We are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball

We are the Ship by Kadir Nelson
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I thought that this book was wonderful, but as a disclaimer, I grew up watching and listening to baseball on the radio, and am one of the few people under the age of fifty in America that still feels that baseball has some sort of magic. Kadir Nelson captures this magic, not only in his words, but in his gorgeous paintings, which even outdo his previous well-known works, like the illustrations in Please, Baby, Please. We are the Ship is book for everyone, children and adults, and people should be careful not into the mindset that any book that has pictures in it is solely for adults.

Although Nelson's portrayal of the Negro League is in many ways hopeful and optimistic about the positive ways that it affected its African-American players lives, and the African-American community in general, as well as the impact that the Negro League had in moving towards integration, Nelson still provides a balanced story. For instance, Nelson recounts many of the hardships that players underwent to play the game that they loved, like traveling hundreds on miles on a bus through the south, oftentimes without being able to find any place to eat or sleep for "colored" folk, but he also mentions that the players loved playing games in the south because black churches and communities would serve them home cooked food and treat it as a holiday or mini-festival, so it was like a homecoming.

Similarly, Nelson does a good job in not idealizing one side and/or vilifying the other. This is a good multicultural book because people are portrayed as people, albeit complex. It's clear that there were "good" blacks and "bad" blacks, as well as "good" whites, and "bad" whites. Overall, We are the Ship is a well-written, beautifully illustrated, well-researched, and accessible history of the Negro League, an important, but oftentimes overlooked or forgotten chapter in American (not only African-American) history.
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