Book of the Week -We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro Baseball by Kadir Nelson

Every author must make a conscientious choice of whom the narrator of their story will be. Typically, the voic

e centers around the main character or characters. Whether in first or third person. However, Nelson chooses to use a god-like voice in We Are the Ship. This voice explains and describes the story as if he was a part of the story, as if he is one of the ballplayers. There is a distinct vocal style, reminiscent of the way African-American’s spoke centuries ago. The book begins, “Seems like we’ve been playing baseball for a mighty long time.” Th

e word ‘we’ allows the reader to feel like they are part of that we. The ‘mighty’ creates a distinctive cultural flavor that permeates the story. There is no name to the voice, but there doesn’t need to be. This is your voice, this is Jackie Robinson’s voice, it is Leroy “Satchel” Paige, and everyone else who made up the negro leagues so long ago.