Delaware Public Media

Negro Baseball League history comes to life in New Castle this weekend

Jul 17, 2019

A living-history interpreter from the Delaware Humanities Forum Speakers’ Bureau is reprising his role as a Hall-of Fame baseball player Saturday.

 


Ronald Whittington calls himself a living scholar.

“I’m doing what’s called a Chatauqua," said Whittington. "Chautauqua is when you become a character and you’re not just a character, you’re actually a scholar also on that particular person.”

The “particular” person he’ll be Saturday afternoon at the New Castle Court House Museum is William “Judy” Johnson.

Whittington will portray the Hall of Famer in a program exploring the history of the Negro Leagues prior to Jackie Robinson breaking Major League baseball’s color barrier in 1947.

“I’ll be in character and I’ll actually do a history of Negro League baseball through slides. So I’ll project slides up on the screen and these are actually pictures that I got from Cooperstown (and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum).”

 

Whittington jokingly says people should not come expecting a Judy Johnson look-a-like.

“I’m about 6’2” and about 250 pounds on a good day. But Judy never was - he was about 5’10” and about 170 pounds," Whittington said. "So, people always tease me that I don’t look like Judy. And I always say, “If Judy had eaten well, he probably would have been my size.”

 

Whittington says over the years he’s also portrayed Jackie Robinson - and Frederick Douglass - the American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer and statesman.

Whittington’s performance is Saturday at 1 p.m. at the New Castle Court House Museum. Admission is free but reservations are requested by calling (302) 323-4453.

 

Delaware Public Media' s arts coverage is made possible, in part, by support from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.