Negro Leagues Museum
The idea of building a Negro Leagues museum in Birmingham was proposed independently by the American Negro League Baseball Association, which secured a contract on the Booker T. Washington Building at 17th Street and 3rd Avenue North and the Alabama Negro League Association, which secured a $4 million collection of memorabilia owned by Layton Revel of Dallas, Texas. Revel plans to move his Center for Negro League Baseball Research to the new facility.
At this insistence of then-mayor Larry Langford, both groups agreed to cooperate with the Friends of Rickwood on a joint Negro and Southern Leagues Hall of Fame honoring the Negro Leagues' Birmingham Black Barons as well as the Birmingham Barons, which was a charter member of the Southern League. In April 2009 Mayor Larry Langford unveiled a proposal to build a museum encompassing all of Birmingham's baseball history adjacent to historic Rickwood Field in West End. Further restoration of the baseball park was also included in the $7.5 million proposal.
The City Council passed a resolution supporting the project, and promised to find funding for it in the 2010 city budget. Under pressure from the Mayor, the Council approved a motion to fund the project with unspent capital funds at their May 5 meeting. On July 14 the Council approved a $310,000 contract with Exford Architects to complete design and construction documents. A ceremonial groundbreaking was held on August 12 with hopes that construction could be completed in time for the park's centennial in the summer of 2010.
Work on the project never really started, and the proposal died with Langford's October 2009 criminal conviction. With the development of a new downtown baseball park in the vicinity of the Railroad Park, a new Negro Leagues Museum was announced by Mayor William Bell as part of the city's plans.
- Wolfson, Hannah (December 23, 2007) "Baseball veterans and supporters want to build a Negro Leagues museum in downtown Birmingham." Birmingham News
- Norris, Toraine (April 15, 2008) "Group wants to build museum to honor Negro League veterans from Alabama." Birmingham News
- Oberholzer, Kristin (May 14, 2008) "Groups unite to develop Negro Leagues museum." Birmingham News
- Bryant, Joseph D. (April 2, 2009) "Birmingham considering museum, restoration at Rickwood Field." Birmingham News
- Archibald, John (April 12, 2009) "John Archibald: Behind gunk, a diamond of an idea." Birmingham News
- Bryant, Joseph D. (May 5, 2009) "Birmingham City Council OKs $7.5 million for museum, Rickwood Field improvements." Birmingham News
- Spencer, Thomas (July 14, 2009) "Birmingham City Council gives OK on Rickwood Field work." Birmingham News
- Bryant, Joseph D. (August 14, 2009) "Ceremonial beginning for Rickwood Field renovations." Birmingham News
- Bryant, Joseph D. (October 26, 2010) "Mayor Bell pitches bigger plans for Birmingham baseball stadium." Birmingham News
- Bryant, Joseph D. (July 27, 2011) "Site set for downtown Birmingham ball park." Birmingham News