Black Diamond Baseball Foundation’s mission is to increase opportunities for Black minorities in the sport of baseball by bringing awareness to the diverse history, reducing financial barriers and creating more accessibility for Black minorities and underrepresented youth to play the sport.
The Foundation was started because the disparity of Black youth and professional players within the sport of baseball is obvious from a personal perspective and statistical standpoint. By identifying three major areas of opportunity; education, accessibility & the financial barriers, we hope to change the current demographic of baseball, starting at the youth levels.
We began executing our mission by partnering with our local Little League chapter, Jefferson County Little League. We proposed, organized, and hosted Little League’s first ever Negro League Day Celebration on July 11th, 2020, which also marked the 100th Anniversary of the start of the Negro Leagues. The surrounding communities were in attendance and showed an overwhelming amount of support and appreciation for what this event meant to them and their families. The opening ceremony began with honoring the Negro Leagues’ history by highlighting some of the greatest baseball players to ever play the game: Leroy “Satchel” Robert Paige, Josh Gibson, & Jackie Robinson. We also honored the Black alumni of Jefferson County Little League and their baseball achievements during and after their Little League experience. It was also important to us to have “Lift Every Voice” sung prior to the start of this event to give young players and the community the experience of hearing this historically significant song sung during a youth sporting event. The two teams that played in the showcase game represented the Homestead Grays vs the Kansas City Monarchs. This event gave us the opportunity to educate the community and players about baseball’s diverse history at a professional level and also at the local level.
Our future plans are to partner with youth baseball organizations to host educational events like the Negro League Day Celebration. We also plan to connect with schools to ensure that students are informed of spring registration for youth baseball organizations and are aware of other baseball opportunities within their community. Lastly, we plan to work with the city/county Parks & Recreation Board to increase accessibility to baseball facilities in their area.
Sarah M Warner
President, Black Diamond Baseball Foundation
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 West Virginia Black Heritage Festival has been canceled but that doesn't mean we're taking a break!