Negro league baseball exhibit in Omaha


May 31st, 2012

Omaha, NE – A collection of stories showing the history of Negro baseball leagues is now on display in North Omaha.

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Leonardo Daniels Jr. greets people at the door of the transformed gymnasium at Conestoga Magnet School. (Photo by Angel Martin)

“1867: National Association of Baseball Players established the first color line of baseball,” said Leonardo Daniels Jr., a youth ambassador for the Great Plains Black History Museum, as he led a tour under the fluorescent lights of a gymnasium in North Omaha.

Three exhibits from the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri are now on display in Omaha. The Great Plains Black History Museum has temporarily transformed the gymnasium at Conestoga Magnet Center into a museum filled with pictures, stories and videos about black baseball teams and players who broke color barriers during segregation, including Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Buck O’Neil, and Jackie Robinson.

“Anyone coming out will leave here certainly proud of the accomplishments of the players and what they endured during those times,” said Jim Beatty, chairman and president of the Great Plains Black History Museum.

A collection of three exhibits from Kansas City, MO are now on display through June 26th in North Omaha. (Photo by Angel Martin)

Beatty said this is the first exhibit the museum has displayed in at least 15 years since its original building on 24th and Lake St. was closed after falling into disrepair. He said thanks to funding from a city turn-back grant, funded by sales tax collections, baseball fans attending the College World Series from near and far this month can see this display.

“We want to show the positive,” Beatty said. “We want to bring people out, so they can see North Omaha is a place of vibrancy. It’s a place of knowledge,” he said.

The three exhibits include “Discover Greatness,” “Time Teams of Talent” and “Baseball’s Heart and Soul.” The collection is now on display through June 26th at Conestoga Magnet Center in North Omaha.

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