The New Exhibit


Souls of the Game: Voices of Black Baseball logo

The new exhibit will honor the history of Black baseball and celebrate its impact on the game and on our country. This exhibit is replacing Ideals and Injustices, the Museum’s previous exhibit about the history of Black baseball. Originally titled Pride and Passion, it opened in 1997 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson integrating the white major leagues. In addition to the new exhibit, more stories of Black baseball will be incorporated into other exhibits throughout the Museum.

Located on the Museum’s second floor in the Yawkey Gallery, The Souls of the Game: Voices of Black Baseball will spotlight the decades-long history of Black baseball prior to the formation of the Negro Leagues, through the complexities of baseball’s re-integration, to the challenges that remain today, revealing the deep connections between baseball and Black America.

The exhibit is part of the Hall of Fame’s Black Baseball Initiative that is made possible by the Yawkey Foundation with additional support from Bill Janetschek in honor of his siblings Robert and Ann, the Anthony A. Yoseloff Foundation and the Bisignano Family. The initiative will also enhance Black baseball stories found throughout the Museum.

The Souls of the Game, a title that pays tribute to W.E.B. Du Bois’s seminal 1903 book The Souls of Black Folk, will explore the Black baseball experience of the men, women and children who were and are an integral part of our National Pastime.

Subtitled Voices of Black Baseball, the exhibit will highlight first-person accounts by the many individuals whose Black baseball experiences shaped them, their community, baseball and America at large. Featuring historically significant artifacts, important documents and engaging photographs, and utilizing audio, video, and interactive elements, the exhibit will tell a more inclusive story of baseball, shine a light on and correct misconceptions about Black baseball, and provide an authentic, cohesive narrative of Black baseball history.

The Souls of the Game will feature men and women telling the story of Black baseball in their own voices. Sections will cover stories of early Black baseball, the Negro Leagues era, the complexities of reintegration, Jackie Robinson, post-reintegration progress and retrogress, and calls for change in today’s game. Meaningful stories from Black baseball are also being added to other exhibits throughout the Museum.


Tell a more inclusive story of baseball.
This story will...

  • Reflect the evolving diversity of the game. 
  • Show that Black baseball was the creation of Black America, not a shadow of white baseball and white America.
  • Avoid viewing Black baseball through the lens of white baseball. 
  • Revisit the deep connections between Black baseball and the Black community. 

Shine a light on and correct misconceptions about the unique characteristics of Black baseball. 

By doing so, visitors will come away with a richer, deeper understanding of race and racism in baseball through...

  • A cohesive narrative of Black baseball's history.
  • An exploration of the complicated relationship that Black people experienced in gaining American democracy and citizenship through baseball. 

Reach all audiences. 
Do this by acknowledging that the stories of Black baseball are viewed through different perspectives. 



YMCA building in 1920 where Rube Foster established the Negro National LeagueEstablished by Rube Foster in this Kansas City, Missouri, YMCA building in 1920, the Negro National League became the first successful Black baseball circuit. 

More than a new Exhibit

Through this initiative, we have developed outreach programs and online content that is making a positive impact on communities.