KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – In the wake of civil rights protests, people are donating thousands to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
Museums are struggling during the pandemic, and many are selling art to stay open.
The staff at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was disappointed to close to guests because this year was supposed to be a centennial celebration of the Negro Leagues.
“We rolled out our plans for the year-long celebration, we are off and flying. And in less than a month, it all comes to a screeching halt,” said Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. “So it absolutely knocks some of the wind out of your sails.”
But, supporters are making sure it will be able to carry on the events into 2021 by donating thousands.
A big push for donations started with artist Graig Kriendler. He issued a challenge to his Twitter followers to match his $100 donation.
The idea took off and raised $14,000 in just 24 hours.
Kriendler says after not being able to join protests last week, he wanted to support civil rights in another way.
“The whole point of it being in existence is such a great example of something that’s important to the country, not only because of baseball but because of civil rights,” he said.
Kriendler’s work is a part of the “Black Baseball In Living Color” exhibit at the NLBM. He says supporting the museum protects the stories, more than just his small part.
“Even if they don’t get to see it, the important thing is that the museum gets to continue running and continue promoting the history, and future, of black baseball
The exhibit has been extended into July.
Kendrick says it’s important to remember the purpose of the pictures on the wall.
“I think for anyone who looks at this story as just a baseball story, you’re missing the point. And I think that’s why the negro leagues museum is so important. I think it’s more important today than ever before, because it is indeed a civil rights story. It is a social injustice story, but it is about triumph over those adversarial situations,” Kendrick said.
Kendrick says the museum has had a good support throughout pandemic.
The staff was able to launch the Pitch In program. Supporters can donate the price of a single admission so in the fall, school groups can learn the stories of barrier breakers for free.
The NLBM is scheduled to reopen June 16.