"It's an honor to represent the players in providing this grant to the Museum to help ensure that the Negro Leagues and their players will never be forgotten", stated MLBPA executive director Tony Clark.
"Because of the sacrifices and triumphs of the men and women of the Negro Leagues, the museum is an inspirational experience for fans of any age", Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said.
The days of Pop Lloyd and Judy Johnson, Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige. However, racism and "Jim Crow" laws forced them from these teams by the turn of the century, and they formed their own units, "barnstorming" around the country to play anyone who would challenge them. Soon, rival leagues formed in Eastern and Southern states, bringing the thrills and innovative play of black baseball to major urban centers and rural countrysides in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America.
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"With the work that is being done right now to build an urban youth baseball academy right behind the Negro leagues baseball museum, how exciting is that, that urban kids will have an opportunity to play baseball and then be introduced to the heritage and history of our sport", Kendrick said.
The integration of baseball in the 1940s and '50s led to the decline of the Negro Leagues, and the last teams folded in the early 1960s. By the late 1980s, the era was largely forgotten, glossed over by historians eager to rewrite baseball's often-checkered past. It has since grown into a 10,000-square-foot destination in the historic 18th and Vine District, adjacent to the American Jazz Museum, and draws thousands of visitors every year.
Highlights include hundreds of photographs, a replica field with 12 bronze sculptures, a massive collection of baseball artifacts and a series of multimedia computer stations.
So many great players like Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays all came out of the Negro Leagues and went on to star in the Major Leagues.
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