Celebrating the 2024 TAASU Freedom Breakfast

President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) Bob Kendrick shares the history of NLBM and the role it’s played in society
Bob Kendrick stands at a podium to deliver the keynote address

The African American Student Union (TAASU) Freedom Breakfast was created to commemorate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., promote unity and harmony within the UMKC community and celebrate people of all backgrounds and experiences.

This year marked the 33rd anniversary of the breakfast and included student performances.

Bob Kendrick stands with students from the African American Student Union with all holding a Roo Up hand gesture

Bob Kendrick, the president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, was the keynote speaker this year. He spoke about the history of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, from its humble beginnings to the $25 million new museum campus that is expected to be completed by 2028.

“Baseball is what started the ball of social progress rolling in our country,” Kendrick said.

“The Negro Leagues gave women the opportunity, before the country gave women the opportunity to do things. It indeed was a pioneering league,” he said “They did not care what color you were, and they did not care what gender you were. It is wonderful to have a place where our children can enter and truly gain a better understanding and appreciation as to why diversity, equity and inclusion are valid pillars towards building respect in our society.”

A group of people sits at round tables looking at a stage where Dean of Students Michele Smith is addressing attendees

“In this country, if you dare to dream, you believe in yourself, you can do or become anything you want to be. These baseball players dreamed about playing baseball, they did not know they were making history and did not care about making history. They just wanted to play ball. The pride, the passion and the determination that they displayed in the face of adversity, their story is not about the adversity, but rather what they did to overcome that adversity. This is a story that transcends race, it transcends age and it transcends gender.”

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas also spoke at the event.

“Don’t be afraid to be proudly and exceptionally Black,” Lucas said. “We are changemakers on a university campus in Kansas City, where we are making a difference for our future.”

“We need your voices making a difference. We need you all to make sure you are building the society of the future, that just doesn’t talk about equal opportunity, but lifts up our young people and lets them know about the pride and greatness they have within themselves.”


Published: Feb 20, 2024
Posted In: Student Life

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