The Negro Leagues: A Baseball Legacy

Baltimore has a rich Negro League history. It’s about championship teams, about cultural pride in those teams, and about Baltimore Afro-American reporter Sam Lacy’s integral role in breaking down Major League Baseball’s color barrier. These stories, presented against a backdrop of racial segregation in 20th century America, are told in Baltimore’s Negro League gallery.

The exhibit begins on a Baltimore Elite Giants team bus. Visitors walk through a replica bus and learn about Baltimore’s two Negro League teams, the Black Sox and Elite Giants. The bus is a fitting setting for this story since players often spent up to 250 days a year traveling by bus as they barnstormed across the nation. Using photographs, oral histories, and one-of-a-kind memorabilia, the Museum traces these stories.

Another key exhibit focuses on the York Hotel, where many of the teams stayed when they played in Baltimore. Using a York Hotel room as a backdrop, the Museum tells the story of how Sam Lacy, a local sports reporter, was hired by the team to travel with Jackie Robinson in 1947, the year he became the first black player in Major League Baseball. Because of segregation, Robinson could not stay in the same hotel with his Brooklyn Dodger teammates.