Founded in 1991, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) is, according to its website, “the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of African-American baseball and its impact on the social advancement of America.” Privately funded, the NLBM was established in 1990 and is presently located at 1616 East 18th Street in the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District in Kansas City, Missouri.
The NLBM began in 1991, under the guidance of several, including historian Larry Lester, NLB player Alfred Surrat and NLB player and manager Buck O’Neil, who were concerned with preserving the rich legacy and vast contributions of Blacks to baseball and American culture. Originally housed in a one-room space within the Lincoln Building of the Jazz District, in 1994, the museum moved to a two-thousand square-foot space.
In 1997, under the leadership of O’Neil, who served as its chairman, the NLBM moved into its new ten-thousand square-foot home, where it is currently. It is conjoined with the American Jazz Museum inside a twenty million-dollar cultural complex known as “The Museums at 18th & Vine”.
The NLBM, having received greater than two million visitors, has, as its site states, “… become one of the most important cultural institutions in the world for its work to give voice to a once forgotten chapter of baseball and American history. In … 2006, the NLBM gained National Designation from the United States Congress earning the distinction of being ‘America’s National Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.’”