Museum of the Moment: Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
Founded in 1990, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is an iconic establishment that pays tribute to heroes of the past—and serves as a beacon of hope for change in the future.
The museum, which is based in the heart of the 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District, uses baseball to tell the story of racial inequality, of injustice not only in the Jim Crow South but throughout the United States. It also tells the story of the African American men who fought against these forces by playing the game that they loved well before they were viewed as equals.
In it, guests will find authentic memorabilia, photography, programs, equipment and more. Hall of famers such as Buck O’Neil, Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige all feature prominently, but the museum also celebrates lesser-known players—each equally deserving of the attention. Other highlights include a short film narrated by James Earl Jones and a small-scale, indoor baseball field populated by statues of legendary Negro Leagues players.
The museum ultimately serves as a mecca for history lovers, baseball fans and Major Leaguers (both retired and active), a place where anyone can pay respects to the players, managers and executives who paved the way for social advancement in America.
Accolades and Anniversaries
The not-for-profit was officially designated as America’s National Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in 2006. It’s earned countless awards since its founding, but 2019 marked a first for the organization: the museum was given the Gold American Business Award for Nonprofit Organization of the Year, a prestigious honor handed out by the American Business Awards.
The prize heralds what expects to be a major year for the museum. In 2020, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1920 founding of the Negro National League, the country’s first successful, organized black baseball league. (The formation also marked the founding of the Kansas City Monarchs, which went on to become the longest-running Negro Leagues club and one of the winningest such teams in history.)
Visitors can commemorate the monumental occasion by enjoying special programming, new exhibits and more throughout the year, as well as the opening of the Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center.
For more details and regular updates, go to nlbm.com.