Detroit Historical Museum Celebrates Detroit Stars Centennial with New Exhibit

A new exhibition at the Detroit Historical Museum called “Detroit Stars & The Negro Leagues,” celebrates the 100th anniversary of the founding of the local Negro League team that played at Mack Park on the city’s east side and Hamtramck Stadium, one of the few remaining major Negro League ballparks in America today.
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Photo from “Detroit Stars & The Negro Leagues”
An exhibition called “Detroit Stars & The Negro Leagues” will open this weekend at the Detroit Historical Museum. // Photo courtesy of the Detroit Historical Museum

A new exhibition at the Detroit Historical Museum called “Detroit Stars & The Negro Leagues,” celebrates the 100th anniversary of the founding of the local Negro League team that played at Mack Park on the city’s east side and Hamtramck Stadium, one of the few remaining major Negro League ballparks in America today.

The exhibit will open on Saturday, June 15, with a reception from noon to 3 p.m. at the Detroit Historical Museum, complete with hot dogs and refreshments. That evening, the Detroit Tigers will host the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park. The exhibit will run until Sept. 29.

The reception, which is free and open to the public, will begin with remarks from members of the Black Historic Sites Committee, followed by Joyce Stearnes, daughter of Detroit Stars standout Norman “Turkey” Stearnes, a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., and Gary Gillette, founder of Friends of Historic Hamtramck Stadium.

Before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947, Major League Baseball was a segregated sport that banned African-American players. During this era of discrimination, major league baseball stadiums were often off-limits to Negro League teams as well.

Upon entering the gallery, visitors will see a display dedicated to the history of women in black baseball. The exhibition also will include artifacts, memorabilia, and a historic timeline of black baseball in Detroit. Among the displays will be a life-sized painting of Stearnes by acclaimed Negro Leagues artist Phil Dewey.

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