Home Local Birmingham to Celebrate 100th Anniversary of The Negro Leagues Jan.17

Birmingham to Celebrate 100th Anniversary of The Negro Leagues Jan.17

Since its opening in 2015, nearly 20,000 people have visited the Negro Southern League Museum. (NSLM photo)

The Birmingham Negro Southern League Museum will celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Negro Leagues on Sunday, January 17 beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the event will be streamed virtually to follow health and safety guidelines. This celebration will pay tribute to the players of the Negro Leagues and shine a light on the impact the league had in many Black communities across the country, especially in Birmingham.

 The event will feature special guests including former Birmingham Black Barons players James “Jake” Sanders, Robert Vickers, Reggie Howard, former Raleigh Tigers pitcher, Ernest “Big Dog” Fann, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, and many more. 

In a recent statement, Alicia Johnson Williams, Director of the Boutwell Auditorium and Negro Southern League Museum said, “The establishing of the Negro Leagues is a significant milestone in American history. Rube Foster, the Father of the Negro Leagues, accomplished the unspeakable by organizing for African Americans what was considered by many then, and equally as many now, the opportunity to play professional baseball in the Negro Leagues. This gave black star athletes a chance to do not only what they loved, but something they were very good at during such a tumultuous time as that of segregation.” 

The Negro Southern League was created in 1920 by a group of African-American businessmen and baseball enthusiasts. From 1920 until its demise in 1951, the Negro Southern League served as a feeder route for many great Black baseball players to go on to the Negro American League and Negro National League.

 The Birmingham Black Barons were also organized in 1920 as the Birmingham Stars, one of the first eight teams of the Negro Southern League. In 1923, the Black Barons became associate members of the Negro National League and would become full members of the league in 1925. The Birmingham Black Barons won the Negro American League pennant in 1943, 1944, and 1948. 

Major League Baseball (MLB) recently announced that it would be elevating the 1920-1948 Negro Leagues to major league status. This monumental decision would allow over 3,400 Negro League players and their statistics to be placed in the MLB’s official records. Some of these players include members of the Birmingham Black Barons such as Satchel Paige, Mules Suttles, and Bill Foster.

Their careers led to their induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. According to the research done at the Negro Southern League Museum, Birmingham has two times more Negro League players than any city in America. To register for the 100th anniversary celebration of The Negro Leagues presented by The Negro Southern League Museum, visit bit.ly/NSLM100.

The (NSLM) in the heart of Downtown Birmingham, tells the story of African-American baseball in America through the eyes of Birmingham, Alabama. The museum features the largest collection of original Negro League baseball artifacts in the country.

 NSLM also features an on-site research center that is supported by a research team made up of seven of the top researchers in Negro League and Southern League baseball history. The mission of the Negro Southern League Museum is to present the history of African-American baseball in an unsurpassed manner by maintaining a world-class facility that recognizes the League’s impact on Birmingham, Alabama and the world of professional baseball. This understanding, along with acknowledging the players’ ability to inspire people of all races and transcend barriers, establishes a blueprint for the Museum to evoke a broad-sense of community and create unparalleled cultural and educational experiences that acknowledge the past, embrace the present, and frame the future. For more information about Negro Southern League Museum, visit www.birminghamnslm.org 

To register for the 100th anniversary celebration of The Negro Leagues presented by The Negro Southern League Museum, please visit please visit bit.ly/NSLM100.

For all media inquiries or to request interviews please contact, Jasmine Phillips at jphillips@lrymediagroup.com .