2020 Visit KC Official Guide - 25

For nearly 60 years, no other AfricanAmerican played Major League Baseball
with white players.
That's the story told at the Negro
Leagues Baseball Museum, connected to
the American Jazz Museum-another
KC institution-by a common lobby. It's
a story of how, despite the injustices
of segregation, the African-American
community embraced the game of

baseball, supported its players and celebrated America's favorite pastime.
"Wherever you had a thriving black
baseball team, you had a thriving black
community," NLBM President Bob
Kendrick says. "While the black community celebrated Jackie Robinson, not everyone immediately recognized how it would
impact the Negro Leagues and the black
community in general."
More than 30 African-American
communities claimed a professional baseball team in the 1920s. Not only was the
KC Monarchs the farthest club west, but
it also hosted and won the first Colored
World Series in 1924.
In addition to some of the leagues'
biggest names, such as Cool Papa Bell,
Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson, the
museum celebrates the women of the
Negro Leagues. Their names are not as
familiar, but their talent was comparable;
Connie Morgan, Toni Stone and Mamie
Johnson could all hit, field and run like
their male counterparts.
The end of World War II revealed the
hypocrisy of African-American troops
fighting for freedom in Europe while

enduring segregation at home. The injustice wasn't lost on Americans of all races.
Take a seat at the museum, and listen to
the impassioned reports by sports journalists calling for the end of MLB's color
barrier.
Then read the words of Branch
Rickey, general manager of the Brooklyn
Dodgers: "I couldn't face my God any
longer knowing that his black children
were held separate and distinct from his
white children in a game that has given
me all that I own."
America changed when Rickey
handed a contract to former Monarch
Jackie Robinson, who broke the color
barrier in 1947. By 1959, Major League
Baseball was fully integrated, and the
Negro Leagues teams slowly faded away.
But, thanks to the Negro Leagues
Baseball Museum, the players and
their accomplishments have not been
forgotten.
The centennial celebration of the
Negro Leagues runs from February 13 to
November 14, 2020-Buck O'Neil's birthday. Stay up-to-date on commemorative
events by visiting nlbm.com.

DREW WOOLERY

Jackie Robinson

OTHER KANSAS
CITY SPORTS
EXPERIENCES
1. KANSAS CITY ROYALS

BILL COBB

There's never a dull moment at Kauffman
Stadium, where families and fans of every
age can enjoy America's pastime and unique
baseball activities, all for incredible value.

2. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Join the Sea of Red at tailgate capital Arrowhead Stadium-the loudest outdoor arena in
the world-to cheer on the Chiefs every NFL
season.

3. SPORTING KANSAS CITY

2

DEREK SLAGLE

Head west to Children's Mercy Park, where
rabid MLS fans go crazy for this hometown
club, making a Sporting match one of the
most exhilarating sports experiences in KC.

1

4. KANSAS SPEEDWAY

Speed matters. Nowhere is this more appar-

ent than at Kansas Speedway, which hosts
two NASCAR events each year-full-weekend
affairs that culminate in high-energy races
for thousands of fans.

VisitKC.com

3
Visit KC 2020 25


http://www.nlbm.com http://www.VisitKC.com

2020 Visit KC Official Guide

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of 2020 Visit KC Official Guide

Inside
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