Since we were driving from the top of the US (visiting Glacier, Yellowstone, Little Big Horn, etc.) to the bottom (Louisiana and Texas) we had to go through Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas. Guess what we found on the drive? The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum! I’m not a fan but as a Black family, we had to go visit. It’s our heritage.
I wasn’t expecting much, especially since I read online that you can’t take photos. I figured we’d go for 30 minutes to an hour, walk around a bit, and be done with it. It was much better than I expected.
There is a wonderful, interactive museum that we really enjoyed. There is a great film narrated by James Earl Jones. The museum is laid out chronologically and focuses on large socio-political movements in history. It’s a really nice way to understand the need for, and creation of, the Negro Leagues Baseball teams.
- Moses Fleetwood Walker was the first Black man to play on a white team the
- Rube Foster was able to create a viable league.
- The Negro Leagues was able to make playing baseball respectable.
- There were clown teams were a thing (I only knew of the Harlem Globe Trotters)
- There were all-women teams that people came out to watch.
- The Kansas City Monarchs were beloved on 18th & Vine.
The last thing you see is a baseball diamond. There are brass statues of players at bat and full on bases one can round. My two toddlers LOVED running around the bases. We even took a few photos with each of us sliding into home plate.
The very last thing you do is enter a small gift shop. There are jerseys and shirts and magnets and various other knicknacks. The three people behind the counter were very nice. When my youngest started screaming, they started talking to the kids to calm her down. They were very understanding.
The museum was in a complex with a jazz museum and a fashion museum. Next time, we’ll plan to check out more. The complex is on a historic block called 18th & Vine. There are a few murals, an outside baseball diamond, a few large art pieces, and a community center all in a few blocks radius from the museum. We also drove past a restaurant that smelled pretty good. It looked like condos were being built. I can’t wait to visit again.