Gibson, Magnolia Pictures honor Negro National League with screening of ‘The League’

Attendees enjoy the showing of “The League.”
Photo courtesy Arlene Mukoko

To honor the history of the Negro National League, Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, alongside CEO and founder of First and Pen, Yussuf Khan, and George Nicholis, head of publicity at Magnolia Pictures, screened “The League,” a film that serves to showcase the Negro National League and spread awareness of its important history.

On July 11, at the Concourse Plaza Multiplex Cinemas at 214 East 161st. Gibson was joined by Khan, Nicholis and nearly 100 Bronx residents for a screening of the highly acclaimed film, “The League,” a documentary directed by Sam Pollack and executively produced by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson that celebrates the dynamic journey of the Negro National League.

“The League” is a film that pays tribute to the architects of the Negro National League that produced some of the greatest players in the history of baseball.

“The Negro National League serves as an example of perseverance as they experienced unprecedented racism during their prime but yet were still able to overcome these systemic barriers to achieve greatness in American baseball history,” said Gibson. “A segregated sport from the onset, it took nearly 60 years for Jackie Robinson to break the color barrier after signing on with the Brooklyn Dodgers, paving the way for others to follow.”

“Being able to showcase culturally impactful stories through films like “The League” continues our mission at First and Pen of informing, inspiring and connecting communities through voices of color in sports,” said Khan. “I’m excited that we were able to accomplish that mission once again in the Bronx this year.”

The film features archival footage and never-before-seen interviews with legendary players including Buck O’Neil and Hall of Fame inductees Monte Irvin, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron, whose early careers paved the way for the Jackie Robinson era. It also pays tribute to Hall of Famer Andrew “Rube” Foster who, with his fellow team owners, founded the Negro National League in 1920.

“The League” premiered at the Tribeca Film Fest on June 12 and opens for national distribution on July 14.

For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes