This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

22Oct/18

LONG TIME COMING: A 1955 BASEBALL STORY

Long Time Coming: A 1955 Baseball Story

Long Time Coming: A 1955 Baseball Story reunites players from first integrated Little League World Series

LONG TIME COMING: A 1955 BASEBALL STORY (Jon Strong, 2018)
SVA Theatre
333 West Twenty-Third St. between Eighth & Ninth Aves.
Tuesday, October 23, $10-$15, 7:00
www.longtimecoming.film

To most baseball fans, 1955 was the year the Brooklyn Dodgers finally reached nirvana, winning their first and only World Series, defeating their archrival, the New York Yankees, in seven games. The Dodgers’ roster included three African Americans, future Hall of Famers Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella and four-time All Star Don Newcombe. But there was another baseball matchup that year that had an impact on the legacy of segregation in the United States: Florida’s Little League State Championship, pitting the all-black Pensacola Jaycees (Rev. Freddie Augustine, Cleveland Dailey, Admiral “Spider” LeRoy, Will Preyer, Willie V. Robinson, Willie Stromas, others) against the all-white Orlando Kiwanis (Jerry Cowart, Gary Fleming, Stewart Hall, Ron Homan, Bill Hudson, John Lane, Danny Rivenbark, more). Jon Strong looks back at the seminal event in his new documentary, Long Time Coming: A 1955 Baseball Story, which features interviews with several members of each team in addition to such baseball legends and civil rights leaders as Hank Aaron, Cal Ripken Jr., Gary Sheffield, Davey Johnson, and Andrew Young.

“I wanted to dig into the uncomfortable, real stories that many find difficult to share,” Strong said in a statement. “Black and white children who grew up in the South, now grown men in their seventies — how can we see them, know them, and most importantly, what can we learn from them for our own lives? Through conversation, I wanted to learn the histories, experiences, and truths in their lives.” The film, which includes music by Keb’ Mo’ and the Brilliance, is making its theatrical premiere at the SVA Theatre on October 23 at 7:00 — the same night the Major League Baseball championship begins, with the Los Angeles Dodgers taking on the Boston Red Sox — followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and some of the players who participated in this first integrated Little League World Series.

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