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Negro Leagues Baseball Museum makes mark in Denver

The "Shades of Greatness" exhibit is on display at the McNichols Civic Center Building.

DENVER — MLB All-Star Week events keep rolling on here in Denver.

A big part of baseball's history comes from Negro League Baseball, and that tradition is on display at the McNichols Civic Center Building with the "Shades of Greatness" exhibit.

"For those who appreciate and admire artistic expression, you're going to learn about the history of the Negro Leagues through a congregation of tremendously talented artists who went through a series of exercises with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum to kind of be introduced to this history," said Bob Kendrick, President of the Negro League Baseball Museum.

When guests come to the exhibit, it leaves a lot of the guesswork and the interpretation out of it. In fact, it gives people the entire story of the Negro League.

"Our story, is of course about civil rights and it's about social justice," Kendrick remarked.

Which Kendrick said makes it even more appropriate that the MLB All-Star Game, and thus the traveling exhibit, was moved to Denver after Georgia passed controversial voting laws.

"We are a social justice and civil rights institution, it's just seen through the lens of baseball," Kendrick said. "More importantly, it is triumph over that adversity."

A team that triumphed here in Denver was the White Elephants. Kendrick said they played an important part in Black baseball history.

"They weren't a part of the organized professional Negro Leagues as we know it, they were a semi-pro black baseball team, but I can tell you this, there was nothing semi about this team," Kendrick said.

"Theodore Anderson, Ted Anderson, Bubbles Anderson would go on to play for the Kansas City Monarchs--the first native Coloradan to play in the Negro Leagues. This area has always known great black baseball. I remember hearing guys like Ted 'Double-Duty' Radcliffe, the late great Buck O'Neil, Byron Johnson, who lived and died in Denver, talk about Five Points and what the Five Points were like back in that day when they would come and the reception they would receive here in Denver."

A city that received players when the rest of the country wasn't ready -- A metaphor, he says, for what he hopes this exhibit can do for our current division.

"It is about diversity, inclusion, equity, and in the process, creating tolerance and respect for those who don't look and don't act and don't think the way that I do," Kendrick said.

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