What a great day! I am proud to be an artist today. I'm in Kansas City to unveil and donate the painting I created to celebrate the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. When Bob Kendrick from the Musuem asked me if I would create the piece, i was aprehensive. I wasn't sure i could do the subject justice. But the more that i've learned about the history of Black Americans in baseball, the prouder i am to have been asked to create this work.
Today would have been John “Buck” O'Neil's birthday. Buck is quite the hero here in KC and his name SHOULD be a household name. He was the first African-American coach in the Major Leagues and was instrumental in the building of the museum. He is a member of a very special club….a society of very special people who had a very special impact on our country. I had an appreciation for my subject before today, but after receiving a private tour of the Museum from Bob, i have a very new and very real appreciation for the impact and significance of the Negro Baseball Leagues. The Museum tells an incredible story of how hundreds of players and people persevered in order to participate in America's pasttime…the way this one sport and this one cultural phenomenon began the process of bringing the races together…ironically, the League were born of segregation, but in the end, they brought us together as a nation….white people and black people sat in the stands together to watch baseball games during a time when it was unheard of for the races to mix at social events…this began a huge and much-needed wave of change. And of course, there was Jackie Robinson…as Bob put it “there are two important dates in the progression of the civil rights movement in America….Before Jackie…and….After Jackie.”
I was touched and honored and overwhelmed being here today. I am glad to include Bob Kendrick and all of the folks at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum among my friends and I look forward to working with them in the future.
Here's one little plug….we've created a small (75 pieces) 3-D limited edition series of prints based on the original painting to raise funds for the Museum. They are available excusively through the Museum and if you're interested in obtaining one of them, email Bob Kendrick (bkendrick@NLBM.com) directly. He's offering a 10% discount on the prints for members of my collectors club.
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