Posnanski: A museum of their own: A quarter-century of honoring the Negro Leagues

From SABR member Joe Posnanski at NBC Sports on October 1, 2015, with mention of SABR members Bob Kendrick, James Riley, John Holway, and Brent Kelley:

Start with Horace Peterson III. You probably have not heard his name, but he was quite a man. He grew up in Oklahoma, and in the 1960s, he became a believer in the nonviolent resistance of Martin Luther King. He marched in Selma. Later in life, he would talk about the time he spent in an Arkansas jail. When he graduated from college, he settled in Kansas City and determined that the greatest thing he could do with his life was teach everyone, but especially young African-Americans, the history of what it means to be black in America.

“History,” he used to say, “is too important to be left in the hands of the historians.”

He started a small museum that he called “The Black Archives of Mid-America.” Small? At first he could fit his entire collection in the trunk of his car. So he went to work. He started taping oral histories with prominent and not-so-prominent African-Americans. He began collecting yearbooks from black high schools and colleges. He looked for books, for photographs, for magazines, for newspapers, for stories. He believed the stories had to be told.

Peterson moved his growing collection into an old firehouse in the heart of what used to be Kansas City’s thriving black community. He started to grow cotton in a field next to the Black Archives so that young people could feel raw cotton in their hands. “This,” he would tell them, “is why we were brought to this country.” Then he would take them to a section of the Black Archives and show them photographs of Charlie Parker or Joe Louis or Ella Fitzgerald or Ralph Ellison or Satchel Paige. He would say, “and this is what we became.”


Read the full article here: http://sportsworld.nbcsports.com/negro-leagues-baseball-museum-25th-anniversary/

Originally published: October 1, 2015. Last Updated: October 1, 2015.