Do You have a Famous Relative?

by UndergroundLibrarian@evpl on Monday, December 22 2008, 1:34pm. Viewed 1,238 times.

Every family has a relative who is their claim to fame. Mine is Branch Rickey, the man who hired Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in major league baseball. 

 Now Kadir Nelson has written and illustrated We Are The Ship; The Story of Negro League BaseballWe Are the Ship, and he's even included a painting of Branch Rickey!  Pretty realistic, too, although I think his eyebrows were even more bushy. And Nelson points out that Branch Rickey would not have been able to make his integrating hire if it were not for a new baseball commissioner being elected in 1944, A. B. "Happy" Chandler. Chandler was quoted as saying " If a colored boy can make it on Okinawa and Guadalcanal . . .[i.e., serving in world War II]  he can make it in baseball."  My family had never heard of  Happy Chandler, but I sure heard about Branch Rickey.

The reviewers are saying great things about this book, and not because of my relative.  Nelson's artwork shows individual portraits of star players as if they are on the baseball field.  HIs pictures make you want to just keep looking at them.  Looks to me like a good candidate for this year's Caldecott Award.  I think this is the first book where he has also done the writing, and if so he's been keeping a great talent well hidden.  It's written from the point of view of a Negro League player relating the experiences of everybody, what good players they were, how much they enjoyed it, what hard times they had, the indignities thrust upon them by segregation.

This book is located in children's nonfiction, but it's for older children, and adults would appreciate it as well.  Even if you're not related to Branch Rickey.


Comments (5)

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on Monday, December 22 2008, 3:13pm

I have some infamous relatives...Benedict Arnold on my mom's side, and William Tecumseh Sherman on my father's side!  So I just stick with telling people my grandpa was governor of Indiana in the 1960s. ;)

on Monday, December 22 2008, 3:31pm

Joseph Smith,the founder of Mormonism, is one of mine. My favorite is that Tippy Hedren of The Birds fame is a second cousin of my mother. that's pretty fun to tell people even if I've never met her.

on Monday, December 22 2008, 6:22pm

My famous relative is Faith Hill.  Faith was adopted when she was a baby and my dad's cousin is her biological father.  Her dad and mother did not marry so she was raised by her adoptive parents.  However, I heard that she met her biological mother, but I don't know if she has met her father.  I wish I could say I have her singing ability and her looks in my genes, but somehow they didn't make it on my part.

on Tuesday, December 30 2008, 9:08am

Nearly every Davis in my husband's family claims to be related to Jefferson Davis. In my genealogy research, I have not found any proof of this claim yet. There were many Davis' in Kentucky with the same or similar first names, so it is difficult to sift through. I am not sure why they want to be related to him.

gawell@evpl wrote
on Thursday, January 1 2009, 5:55pm

Perhaps not a relative, "I'll take namesakes for $100 Alex."

William Charles Wells MD  (1757–1817), was a Scottish-American physician and printer. He did some notable medical research, and made the first clear statement about natural selection.

Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace were not aware of this work when they published their theory in 1858, but later Darwin acknowledged:

   "In this paper he [Wells] distinctly recognizes the principle of natural selection, and this is the first recognition which has been indicated..." (Charles Darwin, Origin of Species 4th ed, 1867)

He also wrote a paper explaining 'dew'.

Being largely forgotten, he's not really famous.

...on the other hand H.G. Wells.