Oklahoma State University - Tulsa
Oklahoma State University - Tulsa
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OSU-Tulsa News > 2017

Friday, November 03, 2017

OSU-Tulsa graduate to speak on Tulsa's Negro League baseball history

From the T-Town Clowns team to black-owned baseball parks


Jake Cornwell


Oklahoma Negro League historian W. Jacob “Jake” Cornwell will discuss the earliest black baseball teams in Oklahoma history during a presentation at 4:30  p.m. in North Hall 212 on Thursday, Nov. 9.

The presentation is free and open to the public. The event is part of the Tulsa Public Cultures course in OSU-Tulsa’s American studies program.

An OSU adjunct lecturer and history teaching associate, Cornwell will share little-known facts about Tulsa black baseball and its history during "Black Gold in Oil Town: Negro League Baseball in Tulsa."

For instance, Tulsa had one of the few black-built, black-owned and black-operated baseball parks in the country. One of Tulsa’s black ball clubs served as a makeshift minor league farm team for the nationally-renowned Kansas City Monarchs.

Nanse Kyle, T-Town Clowns' first catcher, left, second baseman Sylvester Nichols and Locomiss Gilford were members of the T-Town Clowns baseball club circa 1946-48.

Cornwell continues his research into the importance of African-American baseball in Oklahoma and often works as a museum consultant for baseball exhibits, traveling the state to lecture about a history that has been “hidden in plain sight.”

His master’s thesis, “Playing between the Lines: An Examination of Negro League Baseball in Oklahoma 1892 to 1965,” was awarded the 2016 Outstanding Thesis on Oklahoma History by the Oklahoma Historical Society.

In his Introduction to American Studies course at OSU-Stillwater, Cornwell uses baseball and other forms of leisure culture as case studies to illustrate how race, class, nationalism, identity and social construction affect American history.

Cornwell earned a bachelor’s degree in American studies with a minor in history at OSU-Tulsa. That year, he received an Outstanding Senior award. Cornwell set his sights on becoming a historian and completed a master’s degree in public history at OSU-Stillwater in 2015.

For more information about the presentation, email Dr. David Gray

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