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Negro League Baseball Museum
1616 E. 18th St.
Kansas City, MO 64108

The Negro League Baseball Museum beautifully captured the cultural significance of that era of the sport, when the "national pastime" was officially limited only to white players, despite the fact that some of the best players were an entirely different color. Rick was quite taken with a display of lockers featuring uniforms, caps and bronze plaques explaining the history of the former wearer, and also the fun fact that people dressed up to the nines to attend weekly ballgames, since they were such important events. After seeing life-size cutouts of ladies in excellent dresses, hats and gloves, and men in elegant suits, we felt shabby and underdressed.

There were quotes all over the place (same at the Jazz Museum; most illuminating and help bring the scene and the sound alive) such as when Jackie Robinson first played, fans were sharply divided into black fans and white fans, until about the third game, when they all became one set of Dodger fans, throwing soda on each other in glee.

By the time we got to the replica of a ball field, complete with life size bronze statues of the best Negro League player at each position (Satchel Paige on the mound, Cool Papa Bell, and so on), we were ready to go root for the Kansas City Monarchs.

As with last year's Civil Rights sights, when we visit places like this, we think about how stupid and horrible it all was, here in this country of equality and opportunity, and we can't do anything other than salute those who did what they could, be it march or play ball, to make it better for those who would come after.

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