Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Receives $300,000 Grant From Bank of America Charitable Foundation

By Off The BASN Sports Wire
Updated: May 31, 2007

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) announced Wednesday that the Bank of America Charitable Foundation has donated $300,000, one of the largest corporate contributions given to the museum in recent years, to support a three-year national Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) tour of the museum’s acclaimed traveling Negro Leagues history exhibition, “Discover Greatness”.

Black College campuses once served as training camps for many Negro League teams and a number of Negro League players attended those institutions.

The grant supports the museum’s plans to re-introduce the Negro Leagues to many of the same campuses that players once attended while introducing the story to a new generation. The exhibition will be made available at no cost for schools interested in serving as a host site.

“As the official Bank of Major League Baseball, Bank of America is honored to provide thousands of people across the country the opportunity to learn, and hopefully gain a greater appreciation, of the contributions of African-Americans to the game of baseball and its impact on America,” said Spence Heddens, Kansas City market president for Bank of America.

“By teaming up with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, we’re giving more people the chance to experience a compelling piece of history and reconnecting Historically Black Colleges and Universities to an era they played a major role in shaping.”

“Discover Greatness” is a powerful and compelling examination of the Negro Leagues that brings the fascinating story of triumph over adversity to life. The exhibition features 90 black and white photos, pennants, jerseys and a video that chronicles the rise and fall of the Negro Leagues while celebrating the contributions of America’s unsung baseball heroes to the game and the social advancement of our nation.

Cinematic portrayals depicted the Negro Leagues as a vaudeville act and its players as tramps and hobos.

And, for nearly six decades, these talented baseball players were shut out of the Major Leagues because of their skin color and a pervasive perception that they weren’t “smart enough” to play America’s national pastime.

In actuality, a great many Negro Leagues players were college educated men.

It is estimated that more than 40 percent of Negro Leagues players had some level of college education in stark contrast to their Major League counterparts during that era of segregation.

They were scholars who happened to be great athletes.

And long before they hit the field in the Negro Leagues they were hitting the books on America’s Black College campuses.

“We are thrilled to partner with Bank of America on this exciting and historic tour that we believe will open eyes and minds to one of the great chapters in American history,” said Bob Kendrick, NLBM marketing director.

“It is important that the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum reestablish the connection between the Negro Leagues and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.”

“We believe this tour will not only validate the caliber of athlete that played in the Negro Leagues but will educate and serve as a source of pride and inspiration for students attending those schools.”

The partnership will also make the exhibition available to African-American Museums in collaboration with the NLBM to support audience development.

In March, the exhibition was hosted by the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee in conjunction with the inaugural Civil Rights Game developed by Major League Baseball.

The exhibition will open in Baltimore, Maryland at the Great Blacks in Wax Museum from June 1 through July 14.

Additional locations are:

— National Center for Civil Rights Study and African American Culture

Alabama State University, Montgomery, Alabama from July 26 – September 23

— Florida Memorial University, Miami Garden , Florida from October 5 – November 17

“Discover Greatness” will be on display at each venue for a six-to-eight week period.

The tour runs through the fall of 2010.

In addition, the partnership will support a 10-city Major League Baseball stadium tour of another Negro Leagues exhibition entitled, “Times, Teams and Talents”.

The exhibition, a concourse display, will travel to ballparks throughout the 2007 MLB season. The tour opened at McAfee Stadium in Oakland, CA on May 28.

NOTE: For more information about the NLBM, please visit