In honor of the movie 42 I decided to write up a quick write up of when I visited the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City last year. It was one of the best museums I have been to in a long time and had great memorabilia and amazing photographs from the time period.
The museum is not the Negro Leagues Hall of Fame but it tells the complete story of Negro League Baseball. You learn about some of the average players to the super stars. The museum is self guided and has hundreds of photographs, film exhibits all laid out on a time line of baseball and black history.
In 1920 the Negro Baseball League was formed due to the popularity of African American baseball players who were not allowed to play in Major League Baseball because of racism but wanted to play baseball. As a result of the success of the Negro National League other leagues formed in the East and South helping economic development in many black communities.
In 1945 after only one year of playing in Negro Leagues Jackie Robinson was brought into the Major Leagues by Branch Ricky and the Brooklyn Dodgers and was the first African-American in the modern area to play in Major League baseball. This moment was very important for baseball and civil rights but also prompted the decline of Negro League baseball because the best players were being recruited to play in the Major Leagues.
In 1960 the last of the Negro Leagues baseball teams ended playing, but the legacy of the Negro Leagues continues and will always be an important part of American baseball history.
If you are in Kansas City you should take a couple of hours from your day and spend time at this historical and very important museum. You won’t regret it.