If you’re ever in Birmingham, Alabama, you must visit the Negro Southern League Museum. In fact, you should just plan on taking a trip to Birmingham specifically to visit this museum. It is simply one of the best baseball museums in the country.
According to the museum’s website, their mission is “to present the history of African-American baseball in an unsurpassed manner by maintaining a world-class facility that recognizes the League’s impact on Birmingham, Alabama and the world of professional baseball.” The museum also states it has the nation’s largest collection of artifacts from the Negro Leagues. A visit just to the website provides links to suggested readings and other resources, such as the Center for Negro League Baseball Research.
The Negro Southern League was established in 1920 and survived for three decades. The original teams were the Atlanta Black Crackers, Birmingham Black Barons, Jacksonville Stars, Knoxville Giants, Montgomery Grey Sox, Nashville White Sox, New Orleans Caulfield Ads, and Pensacola Giants. Other teams included the Memphis Red Sox and the Indianapolis Cardinals. Players such as Willie Mays, Satchel Paige, and Turkey Stearnes played in the league.
Visitors to the Negro Southern League Museum begin their visit in a replica of a stadium dugout that features a video describing the origins of the museum. Along the walls are more than 1,500 baseballs signed by Negro League players. Other exhibits include a game-used uniform belonging to Satchel Paige, a 1907 player contract for the Cuban League, Bullet Joe Rogan’s jacket, memorabilia from the Huntsville Stars, and exhibits dedicated to Jackie Robinson, Bo Jackson, and other Major Leaguers.
To understand the history of baseball in Alabama and the Negro Leagues, all one needs to do is visit this amazing place. And while you’re in Birmingham, check out Regions Field and the Birmingham Barons.