Pirates celebrate Black History Month with online program

Pirates celebrate Black History Month with online program
(Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH — In celebration of Black History Month, the Pittsburgh Pirates will offer the “Long Live Their Legacy” program, a community relations initiative promoting the history of the Negro Leagues, its many stars and their lasting legacy on the game of baseball.

The program, which in previous years has been a traveling, in-person presentation made available to Pittsburgh area schools and community groups throughout February, has been adjusted this year due to COVID-19-related restrictions. This year, the Pirates will make the presentation a virtual experience to ensure the educational initiative can still reach young people throughout the region.

The “Long Live Their Legacy” presentations will take place every Wednesday through the month, with three sessions available and attendance open to all who wish to join. Those interested can register at pirates.com/longlivetheirlegacy. This Pirates initiative is designed to help educate area young people – ages 10 and above – about Negro League baseball, its ties to Pittsburgh, and the significant influence it has had — and still has — on the game of baseball.

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“Pittsburgh has a very important place in Negro League history, as our city was home to two of the league’s most successful franchises and some of the greatest players to ever play the game,” said Pirates President Travis Williams. “We are proud to offer this unique and informative educational program throughout Black History Month as a way to help connect our community to our historic baseball past.”

The roughly 45-minute presentation aims to create an awareness of Pittsburgh as a hub for Negro League baseball during the first half of the 20th century, and the fact that it was the only city in the country to host two Negro League teams: the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords. These were two of the most renowned Negro League teams of all time and featured stars such as Josh Gibson, Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige, James Thomas “Cool Papa” Bell and Buck Leonard.

In addition to the Long Live Their Legacy campaign, throughout Black History Month the Pirates will host virtual listening sessions with members of the organization and the Black community. Each session will include members of the Pirates executive team as well as many Pittsburgh community leaders.

In Bradenton, Florida, the team will host a Building Bridges interview series with guests such as Pirates outfielder Anthony Alford, Pirates Director of Professional Scouting, Steve Williams and Sean Gibson, executive director of the Josh Gibson Foundation. In addition, the Pirates will highlight Negro League players and teams on social media throughout the month as part of the Club’s ongoing educational initiatives.

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