Making the Negro Leagues the Center of Attention

From the time Negro Leagues legend, Buck O’Neil, joined the Kansas City Monarchs in 1938, until his untimely passing in 2006 at age 94, he called Kansas City home. Buck loved Kansas City and Kansas City loved him back. In memory of its founder and former Board Chairman, the NLBM has announced plans to build the Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center (BOERC), an important expansion project that will be housed in the Paseo YMCA in Kansas City, MO. It was in that historic building that Andrew “Rube” Foster established the Negro Leagues in 1920.

The BOERC will become a public use facility that incorporates the latest in interactive technology and state-of-the-art research equipment. The Center will allow visitors, students, researchers, and baseball fans to study every aspect of the Negro Leagues and social history.

When complete, the renovated building will house more than 40,000 square feet of archival materials, educational areas, exhibits, conference facilities and administrative offices that will advance the museum’s mission and strengthen the museum’s position as an internationally recognized attraction and institution. In addition, the Center will be home to an innovative curriculum for students from around the country to use baseball to learn math and science.


What makes a curve ball curve? What are the effects of wind and humidity on a baseball? Or, measuring how much reaction time is required to hit Satchel Paige’s 105 mph fastball? All these questions and more will be addressed in the NLBM Sports Science Center to be housed at the BOERC. The center will feature innovative educational programming, including a cutting-edge exploration of the Math and Science of Baseball. The new curriculum-based programming is being developed to provide area teachers with additional tools to help increase math and science aptitude with a Negro Leagues twist.


Developed to make the NLBM the central repository for Negro Leagues history, this area will house the archives of great African-American newspapers, which were the primary voice in documenting Negro Leagues games. It will house rare books, new books, oral histories, papers and other materials that will provide the public a place to get more in-depth information on Black Baseball and social history (local, regional and national).


The BOERC will feature displays on the history of the Paseo YMCA (one of the first African-American Y’s in the country) and a re-creation of the Rube Foster-led meeting held at the Paseo YMCA that led to the establishment of the Negro Leagues. The center will provide a home for acquiring collections, expanded exhibits, the creation of new traveling exhibits and a changing gallery to showcase other exhibits with a primary focus on race and sports history.


The BOERC will house expanded administrative office space for the NLBM as it grows staffing to meet the increased demand for programming and information relative to the Negro Leagues and social history.


The NLBM’s plans include the creation of a magnificent mixed-use event center that will allow businesses, social, civic and the public to hold meetings, after-hour functions, private parties and more. The space provides a revenue-generating component that will provide operating income to close the gap for annual fundraising required to operate the building.


The NLBM has plans to make approximately 13,000 square feet of space available for office lease space providing a dynamic location for small businesses and entrepreneurs to operate.

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