In honor of the 100th Anniversary of the Negro Leagues in 2020, the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center announced today the opening of a new exhibition: DISCOVER GREATNESS: An Illustrated History of Negro Leagues Baseball. The traveling exhibit, on loan from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, showcases African American baseball from the 1800’s through the 1960’s. 90 photographs document the history of black players though the Independent Leagues, the formation of the Negro Leagues, Jackie Robinson’s breaking of the color barrier in the Major Leagues and the subsequent decline of the Negro Leagues as more players moved to the Majors. To enhance the visitor experience, the Museum has commissioned an augmented reality experience that leverages artificial intelligence to bring vintage black and white images in the show to vivid life. Together the photographs illuminate the complex history and struggles of African Americans in our national pastime, bringing to the fore both historical and contemporary issues of racial equity and social justice. The exhibition will be open to the public from September 18, 2019 through June 20, 2020.
In coordination with the DISCOVER GREATNESS exhibition opening and the Negro Leagues anniversary year, the Museum has developed engaging and experiential education programming for visiting middle and high school students connecting the historical lessons of the Negro Leagues to the current national conversation about race. The Museum is also poised to launch an extensive new online curriculum this fall that addresses a range of current social issues, including race, through the historical lens of baseball.
“Yogi was committed to racial equity throughout his life,” says Eve Schaenen, the Museum’s Executive Director. “We see this exhibition and the innovative programming we’ve developed around it as a natural extension of our mission to sustain his values. That includes creating a safe and brave environment for visitors of all ages to explore this challenging and critically important topic.”
The DISCOVER GREATNESS exhibition and its attendant education programming were made possible in part by the generous support of the following: Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum*, New Jersey Council for the Humanities** and The Provident Bank Foundation.