Invisible Ball of Dreams
Literary Representations of Baseball behind the Color Line

By Emily Ruth Rutter

192 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches

9781496817129 Printed casebinding $70.00S

Printed casebinding, $70.00

How movies, novels, plays, films, and poems fill the archival gaps in black baseball's story

Although many Americans think of Jackie Robinson when considering the story of segregation in baseball, a long history of tragedies and triumphs precede Robinson's momentous debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers. From the pioneering Cuban Giants (1885-1915) to the Negro Leagues (1920-1960), black baseball was a long-standing staple of African American communities. While many of its artifacts and statistics are lost, black baseball figured vibrantly in films, novels, plays, and poems. In Invisible Ball of Dreams: Literary Representations of Baseball behind the Color Line, author Emily Ruth Rutter examines wide-ranging representations of this history by William Brashler, Jerome Charyn, August Wilson, Gloria Naylor, Harmony Holiday, Kevin King, Kadir Nelson, and Denzel Washington, among others.

Reading representations across the literary color line, Rutter opens a propitious space for exploring black cultural pride and residual frustrations with racial hypocrisies on the one hand and the benefits and limitations of white empathy on the other. Exploring these topics is necessary to the project of enriching the archives of segregated baseball in particular and African American cultural history more generally.

Emily Ruth Rutter, Indianapolis, Indiana, is assistant professor of English at Ball State University. Her work has appeared in A Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century American Women's Poetry, African American Review, South Atlantic Review, Studies in American Culture, MELUS, and Aethlon.

192 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches