Larry Lester, co-founder of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, will mark the centennial of organized black baseball with a public lecture at 5 p.m. Feb. 27, in the Berry College McAllister Auditorium.

Part of Black History Month, the lecture, “Only the Ball was White,” will be followed by an open discussion. Admission is free.

Also on Feb. 27, Lester will join two former Negro Leaguers, Rome’s own Butch Haynes and former Kansas City Monarchs pitcher Eugene Scruggs, at the Rome History Museum for a special discussion and luncheon. Tickets can be purchased online or in-person at the Georgia’s Rome Welcome Center and Gift Shop.

In addition to co-founding the baseball museum and serving as its research director and treasurer, Lester has spearheaded the recovery of the statistical record of black baseball in America, a project funded and sanctioned by Major League Baseball.

He is also chair of the Society for American Baseball Research’s Negro League’s Committee, which organizes the annual Negro Leagues Baseball Conference in former Negro league cities throughout the Midwest.

An author of nearly a dozen books on black baseball, Lester has also contributed research to more than 200 publications. He also wrote the forewords to both books on the Negro Leagues written by Brian Carroll, professor and chair of communication at Berry. Lester’s latest publication is “The Negro Leagues Book, Volume 2, 1862-1960,” which was released in January.

Lester has partnered with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, to conduct a five-year comprehensive study, “Out of the Shadows,” chronicling black baseball from the Civil War up through the mid-1950s. A resident of Kansas City, he is a life-long fan of the Kansas City Royals and Oakland A’s.

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