Opening Programs Celebrate New Sports History Exhibit
Press Release · Monday, September 19, 2022

Washington, DC

The National Archives celebrates the opening of its new exhibit exploring the role of sports in creating, spreading, and promoting American identity, All American: The Power of Sports, with a series of exciting public programs in September and October. 

The programs are free and open to the public and will be held in the William G. McGowan Theater of the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, and streamed online unless otherwise noted. Attendees should use the Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue at 7th Street, NW. Metro accessible on the Yellow and Green lines, Archives/Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter station.

Related Exhibit: All American: The Power of Sports
The power of sports has many applications. Sports unite people, teach values, and inspire hope and pride. In the United States, sports have powered efforts to bring citizens together, shape them, and project a vision of what it means to be American. But sports convey power to athletes too—power to break social barriers and protest injustice. All American explores the power of sports both to embody our national ideals and challenge us to live up to them.

All American is free and open to the public and is on display in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery of the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, through January 7, 2024. This 3,000-square-foot exhibit showcases more than 75 items including original records, artifacts, and photographs. Highlights include original sports equipment and jerseys gifted by star athletes to Presidents, early 20th-century tobacco baseball cards, trophies, rare pictures and film footage, patents, and more.

Book Talk – Major League Rebels: Baseball Battles Over Workers’ Rights and American Empire
Wednesday, September 21, at 1 p.m. ET
Register in advance; watch on the National Archives YouTube Channel 

Athletes have often used their platform to respond to and protest injustices, from Muhammad Ali and Colin Kaepernick to Billie Jean King and Megan Rapinoe. Compared to their counterparts, baseball players have often been more cautious about speaking out on controversial issues; but throughout the sport’s history, there have been many players who were willing to stand up and fight for what was right. Peter Dreier, co-author of Major League Rebels, will present a history of the baseball reformers and revolutionaries who challenged their sport and society—and in turn helped change America. The author will discuss a little-known yet important history of rebellion among professional ballplayers. These reformers took inspiration from the country’s dissenters and progressive movements, speaking and acting against abuses within their profession and their country. Major League Rebels profiles the courageous players who demanded better working conditions, battled against corporate power, and challenged America’s unjust wars, imperialism, and foreign policies.

Panel Discussion – Sports and Women: Telling the Stories of the Quest for Equality
Thursday, September 22, at 4 p.m. ET
Register in advance; watch on the National Archives YouTube Channel 

Sports give us a window into our societal struggles toward equality. These storytellers share personal experiences as pioneering writers and filmmakers in breaking barriers for women in sports. Melissa Ludtke, former Sports Illustrated baseball reporter and the woman who took Major League Baseball to court to secure equal access for women writers to interview ballplayers in the locker room, moderates a conversation with Claire Smith, director of Claire Smith Center for Sports Media and the first/only woman inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame; Iliana Limon Romero, the Los Angeles Times assistant managing editor for sports, chair of the Association for Women in Sports Media, and co-chair of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Sports Task Force; and Carrie Stett, writer and director of the TBS feature film Title IX: 37 Words that Changed America and First Down, an award-winning documentary about the underdog team in America’s first all-female youth tackle football league. Panelists will speak to the challenging issues still in play as women compete at the highest levels of athletic performance with increasing visibility and financial backing—though wide gender gaps remain.

Documentary Screening & Panel Discussion – 37 Words
Tuesday, September 27, at 7 p.m. ET
Register in advance to attend; watch the panel discussion on the National Archives YouTube Channel 

In partnership with ESPN, we present a screening of episode one of the documentary 37 Words, which  tells the inspiring story of Title IX—the hard-fought battle to push for equal rights in education and athletics; the decades spanning effort to nullify its impact; and the rippling impacts of the landmark civil rights law that continue to resonate today. Olympic Gold Medal–winning swimmer Donna De Verona will speak.

(Virtual Only) Book Talk – Fierce and Fearless: Patsy Takemoto Mink, First Woman of Color in Congress
Thursday, October 6, at 1 p.m. ET
Watch on the
National Archives YouTube Channel
Authors Judy Tzu-Chun Wu and Gwendolyn Mink discuss Patsy Takemoto Mink, the first woman of color and the first Asian American woman elected to Congress. Fierce and Fearless is the first biography of this remarkable woman, who first won election to Congress in 1964 and went on to serve in the House for 24 years, her final term ending with her death in 2002. An advocate for girls and women, Mink was best known for her work shepherding and defending Title IX, the legislation that changed the face of education in America, making it possible for girls and women to more fully participate in school sports.

All American: The Power of Sports is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of AT&T, AARP, and Mars, Incorporated. Additional support provided by HISTORY® and the Lawrence F. O’Brien Family. Opening Month support provided by Anheuser-Busch.


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This page was last reviewed on September 19, 2022.
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