One hundred years ago, National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Andrew “Rube” Foster led a meeting of eight independent Black baseball team owners in Kansas City, Missouri, to create the Negro National League. On February 13, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) will celebrate that anniversary by establishing a National Day of Recognition and unveiling an official logo for the occasion, NLBM announced on its website.
The National Negro League, which was the first successful professional Black baseball league in the country, operated for 40 years to provide “a playing field for African-American and Hispanic baseball players to showcase their world-class baseball abilities,” according to NLBM. In addition to the new logo and anniversary recognition, NLBM will present a special centennial art exhibition titled Black Baseball in Living Color, featuring 200 original portrait studies of Negro League greats by artist Graig Kreindler. As part of the centennial celebration, NLBM will also open the Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center, named for the Negro Leagues legend who joined the Kansas City Monarchs in 1938, at the same site where Foster held his first meeting 100 years ago.
“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,” Bob Kendrick, NLBM president, said in a statement. “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.”