This year, we have taken a 180 degree turn and decided to concentrate our display on the Buses of the Negro League Baseball Teams. We hope to encourage both people interested in Black History as well as Baseball to visit our display.
Decades before Jackie Robinson crossed the infamous color barrier in Major League Baseball, black baseball players were making names for themselves on the diamond in another way. African Americans had been playing the game of baseball since the mid to late 1800’s, forming teams after the Civil War days and traveling on their own around the country to play anybody that would challenge them.
It was not until 1920 that a meeting was held between owners of these independent teams that the Negro National League was formed. The first organized Negro league consisted of teams from the Midwest. With the organization of the league came more upstart leagues along the east cost, and in the south. The game of baseball was quickly spreading to communities in more urban and rural regions. Sometimes they rode all night on the bus to get to the next town for another game….stopping in places that were segregated—they often bought their food at the back door of the restaurant and ate on the bus.
Although we don’t have any of the actual buses–we have several similar buses and lots of photographs of the teams with their buses. Please try to visit the Museum during the month of February to see this exciting new display.