Director: Samuel D. Pollard
2023, 103min., PG
Based on the book The Negro Baseball Leagues by Bob Motley and Byron Motley. Baseball is known as America’s pastime, but before trailblazer Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, non-white players were excluded. The essential new film by Academy Award-nominated director Sam Pollard (4 Little Girls) and musician/producer Questlove (Summer of Soul) celebrates the dynamic style of Black baseball – from screwballs to stolen bases -that defines the way the game is played today. With previously unseen archival footage, this buzz-generating documentary pays witness to the legendary Negro Leagues. Born out of segregation, the Leagues thrived from 1920-1948, creating a nation-wide community and pride. Some of the greats interviewed are Satchel Paige and Buck O’Neil, as well as Hall of Famers players Willie Mays and Hank Aaron, who started out in the League. Along with great footage of some of the greatest athletes ever to play the game, The League honors Newark Eagle’s activist owner Effa Manley, the only woman admitted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. “Priceless…As Mrs. Jackie Robinson puts it so eloquently: ‘We stand on their shoulders.’” – Dwight Brown, Tribeca Film Festival.