KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum will launch the "Negro Leagues 101" course on Feb. 13. That's the same date as the 101st anniversary for the Negro Leagues.
The museum will launch a series of programs and lectures as part of the course. It's open to the public and can be found through the museum's website beginning Saturday.
The museum is working with scholars from around the country and a negro leagues researcher to have the course certified for college credit by the end of 2021.
"You are going to meet heroes who have hit great home runs and stolen bases and things like that but it’s important to understand them as people and humans, human beings who have endured in someways a terrible history but have come out so much stronger on the other side," Dr. Raymond Doswell, Vice President and Curator at the museum said.
While the museum's president and curator say they're not experts in race-relations or systemic racism, they do have historic content relevant to the topic.
“It’s important for folks to remember the history, how far we’ve come, and in many respects even [how] 101 years later we’re still dealing with some of the same issues, surprisingly, that African-Americans and others dealt with back then," Doswell said.
It's a story that was elevated after the official recognition of the Negro Leagues by Major League Baseball.
MLB is correcting a longtime oversight in the game’s history by officially elevating the Negro Leagues to “Major League” status. pic.twitter.com/gPSaTbD5Ud— MLB (@MLB) December 16, 2020
"And that’s a complicated history, because in some respects they are responsible for the segregation of baseball," Doswell said. "But they still embraced it and supported it which allowed us to be on a great media platform.“
Doswell calls it part of the reckoning. "This is a way of righting a wrong and it’s always a good time to write a wrong so why not?," he said.
In December of 2020 the MLB announced players from the Negro Leagues should be considered a part of the MLB.
Elevating all 3,400 players from 1920-1948 to MLB status.
“In the end the Negro leagues never should’ve existed, the Negro leagues players should have been able to play with their contemporaries and perhaps that would’ve opened the doors of integration on many levels along time ago but it did happen, we can’t forget that," Doswell said. "we should never forget that, and in doing so - we should never forget the trials and tribulations of African-Americans throughout our history."
The museum will continue to serve as a reminder and way to honor the past.
“Our mission, long-term mission, is to hopefully help rewrite the pages of American history books so more of these stories will be included," Bob Kendrick, President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum said.
“And it’s important for everyone to remember that and for those communities not to make the same mistakes that they did back then," Doswell said.