Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Launches ‘Pitch the Future’ Campaign
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is getting a much-needed makeover. ESPN reports the Kansas City-based landmark and home of the Kansas City Monarchs is opening a fundraising campaign called “Pitch the Future” to raise $25 million for a new building to house an education center and the world’s most unique collections of baseball memorabilia.
Bank of America is already on board, having a relationship with the museum since the 1980s, by giving them a grant worth $1 million to support the initiative to build a new 25,000-square-foot facility. With the grant, NLBM will be able to provide state-of-the-art technology used to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity through the eyes of America’s unsung baseball heroes who overcame amazing social adversity to play America’s favorite pastime.
The facility will be adjacent to the Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center, named after the first baseman and manager in the Negro American League who assisted with fundraising efforts to build the initial museum. Museum President Bob Kendrick says he’s proud of this expansion.
“The current building is not designed to have that many people in it at one time. While no one says a disparaging word about the museum, the record turnout made things feel uncomfortable,” Kendrick said, according to KSHB 4.
“Now, we’re building an organization that will continue to preserve and celebrate the triumphant story of the Negro Leagues but also fortify our position as one of the nation’s most important civil rights and social justice institutions.”
Outside the facility, baseball fans will see images of Satchel Paige, O’Neil, Josh Gibson, and other Negro League stars. Some of these greats played alongside legend Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier as the first African American to play in the MLB.
In collaboration with the second annual March of the Monarchs, Bank of America and NLBM will host the “Play It Forward” baseball clinic on May 6, the same day of Jackie Robinson’s first game with the Monarchs, and will feature MLB alumni players Curtis Granderson and Jarrod Dyson.
The baseball clinic is set to “inspire the next generation to play and learn not only the game of baseball but also important life skills.”
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