NLBM Announces Plans to Celebrate
a Game-Changing Century
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum announces plans to lead a national Centennial Celebration in 2020 commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Negro Leagues; Unveils Centennial Logo.
Kansas City, MO – On February 13, 1920, Andrew “Rube” Foster led eight independent Black Baseball team owners into a meeting held at the Paseo YMCA in Kansas City, MO. Out of that meeting came the birth of the Negro National League, the first successful, organized professional Black Baseball League that provided a playing field for African-American and Hispanic baseball players to showcase their world-class baseball abilities. The Negro Leagues would operate for 40 years becoming a catalyst for economic growth in African-American communities across the country and helped spark social change in America.
Today, on the 99th Anniversary of Foster’s historic meeting, officials at the NLBM announced plans to lead a yearlong national Centennial Celebration in 2020 to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Negro Leagues and unveiled the official logo for the occasion. Festivities will include a major fundraising initiative; opening of the Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center (in the site of the Paseo YMCA) along with an array of programs and events held in Kansas City and select U.S. cities. In addition, the NLBM plans to use the anniversary to establish Feb. 13 as a “National Day of Recognition.”
“What Rube Foster accomplished in establishing the Negro Leagues against the backdrop of American segregation is monumental and richly deserves to be more than just a footnote in baseball history,” said Bob Kendrick, NLBM President. “The Negro Leagues would change the game and America too. This milestone anniversary creates a platform for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum to educate the public about this powerful story of triumph over adversity while using the many relevant life-lessons to inspire a nation to embrace diversity and inclusion,” Kendrick said.
The celebration begins on Feb. 13, 2020 with the opening of a special Centennial Art Exhibition featuring the stunning works of artist, Graig Kreindler. The exhibit will be a visual history of the Negro Leagues through a showcase over 200 original portrait studies of Negro League greats commissioned by Seattle businessman and NLBM licensee, Jay Caldwell, owner of Dreams Fulfilled. The exhibition will also include rare artifacts from Caldwell’s personal collection.
In December of 2018, Caldwell in partnership with the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame, launched a successful Kickstarter Campaign, to create the Negro Leagues Centennial Bobblehead Team, a series of limited-edition collectibles officially licensed by the NLBM. The Negro League Centennial Team features 30 of the greatest African American and Cuban players from 1895-1947. Satchel Paige was the first release. Other Bobbleheads will be released monthly through Feb. 13, 2020. A portion of proceeds from sales benefit the NLBM.
The celebration concludes on Nov. 14, 2020 with a Centennial Gala held in Kansas City in conjunction with O’Neil’s 109th Birthday Celebration.
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
The NLBM, located in Kansas City, Missouri’s historic 18th & Vine District, is the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of African-American baseball and its impact on the social advancement of America. The NLBM is a privately funded, 501c3 not-for-profit organization incorporated in 1990. The NLBM operates two blocks from the Paseo YMCA where the Negro National League was founded by Andrew “Rube” Foster in 1920. The site has been designated as the future home of the John “Buck” O’Neil Education and Research Center. For additional information, visit www.nlbm.com or call (816) 221-1920.