18th and Vine

Just east of Down Town Kansas City, there is a delicate whisper of a once boisterous area. There used to be music blaring, festivities happening, and people enjoying themselves in the 18th and Vine Jazz District of Kansas City, Missouri; now, those same sounds are lessened quite a bit. The buildings and apartments, businesses and clubs of the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s are now boarded up, or even completely demolished.  The thriving and teeming area of Kansas City no longer has the same edge it used to.

By Darren Balckburn

By Darren Balckburn

The great jazz musician Charlie Parker called 18th and Vine home.
Along with New Orleans, Chicago, St. Louis and New York, this area of Kansas City is one of the cradles of jazz. Some of the most influential jazz musicians, like Count Basie, came through the Kansa City Jazz District and were discovered there.

The Kansas City Monarchs called 18th and Vine home.
Buck O’Neil a player and manager for the Monarchs was the first African-American manager in Major League Baseball. Satchel Paige, one of the greatest pitchers of all time, played for the Monarchs. Jackie Robinson, spent his only year in the Negro Leagues, with the Kansas City Monarchs. Kansas City Municipal Stadium (Muehlebach Field, Blues Stadium, Ruppert Field) was in the Jazz District.

But these things and these people are no longer present.

There have been multiple attempts and initiatives to bring back the atmosphere and success, but they have struggled, and the area has struggled.

By Stan W. Kost

By Stan W. Kost

Kansas City and the Jazz District Redevelopment Corporation have invested money into this community, but the improvements have been slow.  In Kansas City 24.8% of household incomes make less than $20,000 a year. That means one out of every four families of four in the Kansas City area, fall below the federal poverty level (Census 2010).

The 18th and Vine district has been especially hit hard since desegregation. It was not only the Negro Leagues that struggled, but the communities themselves. So with this in mind, Experience Baseball wants to give back to a community who gave baseball, and the United States, so much in terms of sports, music, and culture.

Along with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, based in the 18th and Vine area, Experience Baseball will be going to Kansas City and putting on one of our educational tours on June 25th at Kauffman Stadium – home of the Kansas City Royals – in order to help out an area of suffering, but also an area full of fellow baseball fans. With your help, we hope to improve areas like the Jazz District of Kansas City in every city home to a professional baseball team.

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