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Jackie Robinson historical marker finds new home in Kansas City's Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

Jacob Martin
KCUR 89.3
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum President Bob Kendrick, right, and Vice President Raymond Doswell talk about the defaced Jackie Robinson historical marker the museum unveiled Friday morning.

Friday marks the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson becoming the first Black player in Major League Baseball. Robinson began his career with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues.

On the 75th anniversary of the day he broke Major League Baseball's color line, a historical marker commemorating the birthplace of Jackie Robinson in Cairo, Georgia, has found a new home in Kansas City.

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was given the opportunity to claim the historic marker after it was defaced and vandalized by gunfire in 2021.

The Georgia Historical Society replaced the iron placard and chose the museum as the new home for the artifact. The now-restored marker is on temporary display in the museum's Field of Legends. It will be permanently featured in the museum.

Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, said the marker is a reminder of what Jackie Robinson stood for.

“The circumstances that led to the marker coming home to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum are disturbing,” Kendrick said. “But the marker is also a powerful reminder of Jackie Robinson’s courage in the face of tremendous social adversity.”

“His connection to Kansas city is deep and it is meaningful because had it not been for the Negro Leagues, we don't get Jackie Robinson,” Kendrick added.

Robinson began his baseball career with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues in 1945 before becoming the first Black player to break the Major League Baseball color barrier on April 15, 1947 — exactly 75 years ago Friday.

That paved the way for other Black players, including Monarchs greats Satchel Paige and Buck O’Neil, to break into Major League Baseball.

The museum also announced the launch of a new traveling exhibition, including an interactive online exhibit, about the first Black players to join each major league team.

Jacob Martin is a news intern at KCUR. Follow him on Twitter @jacob_noah or email him at Jacobmartin@kcur.org.
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