Meet The Researchers
The Negro Southern League Museum is supported by a research team made up of seven of the top researchers in Negro League and Southern League baseball. Learn more about the team preserving, collecting, and recording the history of the Negro League.
|Dr. Layton Revel
|William “Bill” Plott
|Chef Clayton Sherrod
Dr. Layton Revel
Dr. Layton Revel is the founder and executive director for the Center for Negro League Baseball Research (CNLBR). Three years ago Dr. Revel joined mayor Bell and the City of Birmingham to make the dream of a Negro League museum in Birmingham a reality. Dr. Revel played four roles in the museum.
- He wrote the story line for the museum. According to the story line that Dr. Revel wrote, the Negro Southern League Museum tells the history of black baseball in America through the eyes of Birmingham, Alabama. This concept is truly unique and provides museum visitors with valuable insight into the history of Negro League baseball.
- Virtually all of the artifacts that are displayed in the museum are on loan from Dr. Revel and the Center for Negro League baseball Research’s museum collection. Their museum collection of Negro League baseball artifacts is the largest in the world.
- Revel also put together a research team that is specifically focused on Negro League research that is directly related to the museum. The research team is constantly doing research to further the body of knowledge of black baseball in the South. In addition they work on new exhibits and projects related to educating the general public on black baseball history.
- Revel and the Center for Negro League Baseball Research also constructed an online research center that is specifically related to the museum. The research team downloads new and updated information to the website on a regular basis.
Approximately twenty years ago Dr. Revel founded the center for Negro League Baseball Research (CNLBR) which is a 501(c)(3) foundation. The primary goals of the CNLBR are as follows:
- Locate former Negro League ball players and document their careers.
- Collect original artifacts for the museum collection.
- Conduct research that will be downloaded to their website (cnlbr.org) and be made available to the general public free of charge.
- Publish the “Forgotten Heroes Series” which provides in-depth research on the greats of Negro League Baseball. Currently they have published over 40 books in their library of publications.
- Assist Major League Baseball (MLB) with their pension plan for former Negro League ball players.
- Conduct a yearly reunion for former Negro League ball players in Birmingham. The CNLBR has conducted seven reunions. Each reunion is attended by 50 to 75 former ball players and their families.
- Conduct and assist in educational programs and events that promote Negro League baseball.
When Dr. Revel is not working on projects to Negro League baseball he has a physician’s review practice and heads up vocational rehabilitation programs in Dallas, Texas area.
Cam Perron has been involved with Negro League Baseball Research since age 12. Starting out as a collector of Negro League player autographs, Perron quickly got submersed into tracking down former players, making baseballs cards, conducting newspaper archive research, working on the negro league pension program, and helping to organize annual negro league players reunions. Cam helped organize and and plan the first Birmingham player reunion in 2010, and has since attended over 7 of them. Cam has now located over 100 previously undiscovered former Negro League players, dozens of whom now congregate yearly at the Birmingham reunion. Cam graduated Tulane University with a degree in business management, he runs an e-commerce business, and is starting a job at William Morris Endeavor in Los Angeles in September 2016.
Retired journalist and freelance writer, William J. Plott has been a member of the Society for American Baseball Research since 1971 and a member of SABR’s Negro Leagues Committee since its inception. He was also a member of the Negro Leagues Researchers and Authors Group that compiled Negro league statistics for the Hall of Fame. His book, The Negro Southern League, A Baseball History 1920-1951,was published by McFarland in 2015. He lives in Montevallo, Alabama.
Larry Powell, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies at UAB. He is the author or co-author of fifteen books, including Black Barons of Birmingham, Political Campaign Communication: Inside and Out” (co-authored with Joseph Cowart, 2003) and Interviewing: Situations and Contexts (with Jonathan Amsbary, 2006). Powell teaches courses in mass communication and communication management at UAB. He has published articles in numerous scholarly journals and is ranked as one of the top 50 communication researchers in the nation. Powell earned his bachelors and masters degrees from Auburn University and his Ph.D. from the University of Florida. He has been a member of the UAB faculty since 1998. He is married to the former Clarine Thrower of Greenville, Alabama.
Chef Clayton Sherrod
Clayton Sherrod (Chef Clayton), Chef Clayton’s Food Systems, Inc., is an American Culinary Federation (ACF) Certified Executive Chef, and a member of the elite American Academy of Chefs (AAC). He served on the regional ACF Chef Professionalism Committee. Chef Clayton served on the Board of the Culinard, the Culinary Institute of Virginia College, and the Future Culinarians of America Scholarship Foundation at the Culinard. He was the long time National Chairman of the Ray & Gertrude Marshall Scholarship Foundation for the American Culinary Federation. He is a 1998 graduate of Leadership Birmingham. In May, 2000 he received an honorary Doctorate for his culinary accomplishments from Johnson and Wales University, Norfolk, Virginia. He is the founder of the American Culinary Federation, Birmingham, Alabama Chapter. Chef Clayton has represented the State of Alabama Department of Tourism and Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau with travels across the USA and Canada, presenting the “Flavor Profiles of Southern Cooking.”
Clayton Sherrod was co-creator of Flavors of Alabama, a fundraiser for the American Liver Foundation. Chef Clayton was team coordinator of the 1993, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2009 and 2011 USA Chef Teams that participated in the World Chefs Tour Against Hunger in South Africa. He was the Distinguished Visiting Chef, presenting his lecture and demonstration, “The History of African American Cuisine,” at Johnson & Wales University, Norfolk, VA.
Chef Clayton has won Chef of the Year on both local and regional levels for the American Culinary Federation and in May 2005 for the Alabama Liver Foundation. He also was the recipient of the Alabama Retail Association’s “Retailer of the Year” Gold Award for the Year of 2005.
Chef Clayton received the R.L. Schreiber “Southeast Region Distinction Award” in February 1997, and in July 1997, the coveted and prestigious L.J. Minor “National Chef Professionalism Award” presented at the ACF Convention in Atlanta, GA.
He is a member of the ACF Accreditation Team for Culinary Colleges. Sherrod is the originator of the “National ACF Chapter Newsletter Awards,” the recipient of the Bahamas Culinary Chefs Association’s “Distinguished Service Award,” and a charter member of the Caribbean Chefs Association. He is regularly featured in TV appearances, including a segment for the Discovery Channel’s Home Matters program, as well as, magazine and newspaper articles throughout the United States, the Caribbean and South Africa.
Clayton Sherrod (The ALAGASCO Chef) and the Alabama Gas Corporation co-authored four cookbooks- Top ‘O’ The Morning, A Taste of the South, Simply Southern and the very popular Truly Southern (proceeds from the cookbook sales were donated local charities).
In 1990, Sherrod was appointed to the position of the ACF National Black Family Reunion Culinary Coordinator. His tasks were to inform communities of the important role African American chefs and cooks play in American cookery, and enlighten African-American students about the opportunities available in culinary careers.
Chef Clayton was the Celebrity Chef Representing Lawry’s Foods at the “Real Men Cook” celebration each year in New Orleans, LA. He was the Alabama Gas Company’s Celebrity Chef for the yearly Selma, AL Homemakers’ Cooking School.
Clayton Sherrod was appointed Ambassador for the State of Alabama “Year of Food 2005.” He is the proud representative of the Alabama Negro League Baseball Players. Clayton has received 5 National ACF President’s Awards.
Direct quote from Chef Clayton: “We as Chefs are dedicated to raise the conscious level of Southern Cuisine”.
Lamar Smith retired from Alagasco in 2008. There he was involved in recruiting industrial and commercial companies to Alabama for 20 years and was employed by Alagasco for more than 26 years. After retirement, he worked part time for the Alabama Communities of Excellence program and the Alabama Germany Partnership and completed special projects for the Southern Economic Development Council and an Atlanta architect.
Past association positions include President of the Economic Development Association of Alabama and Executive Committee of the Southern Economic Development Council. He has also been Chairman of the Alabama Germany Partnership and President of the Japan-America Society of Alabama. Community and civic organization affiliations include the Presidency of the Alabama Jaycees International Senate and the Roebuck-Center Point Jaycees. He currently serves on the Board of the Jefferson County Economic and Industrial Development Authority.
Lamar’s passion for baseball primarily dates back to playing second base with Little League Baseball in the 1950’s and collecting baseball cards in the early 1960’s. He now serves on the Board of the Friends of Rickwood, the Rickwood Field SABR Chapter,the American Baseball Foundation’s Development Commission in addition to the Negro Southern League Museum’s Research Committee.
Lamar collects baseball memorabilia primarily related to the 1961 New York Yankees and early 1900’s baseball. He frequently collaborates with other collectors to develop special baseball displays for the downtown Birmingham Public Library as well as baseball-related meetings and events, including a special baseball display at Vulcan Museum.
Earlier in his professional career, Lamar was an elementary and high school math teacher for four years and worked in sales, marketing and marketing research for Saunders Truck Leasing for nine years. He has B.S. and M.Ed. degrees in business administration from Auburn University. A native of Alexander City, he has been married to Jan Allen Smith for 43 years and has two children and six grandchildren.