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Milwaukee Streetcar Honors Negro Leagues And The Milwaukee Bears

Milwaukee streetcar
Chuck Quirmbach
/
WUWM
The Milwaukee streetcar containing images of the Negro Leagues and the Milwaukee Bears.

A Milwaukee streetcar will be wrapped with images of the city's Negro Leagues baseball team for the rest of this year.

The Milwaukee Brewers and a Wisconsin bank have partnered to honor The Milwaukee Bears, who played just in 1923. The campaign will also honor the Negro Leagues, which organized in 1920 after years of Black players not being let into the American and National Leagues and operated for about 40 years throughout much of the U.S.

The idea to put images on the Milwaukee streetcar came from a nationwide challenge issued by Negro Leagues Baseball Museum President Bob Kendrick, after he led a similar effort in the museum's home of Kansas City, Missouri.

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Chuck Quirmbach
Bob Kendrick, president of Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, speaks at Tuesday's news conference.

At a Milwaukee ceremony Tuesday, Kendrick said the Negro Leagues were about more than baseball.

"These legendary men never cried about the social injustice. They went out and did something about it. 'You don't let me play with you? I create my own.' And there is something very American about that spirit," he said.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said like other forms of mass transit, the streetcar is gaining back ridership lost during the pandemic. He said he thinks the downtown service can still eventually expand to the north and south sides.

Barrett said a recent change that calls for a higher percentage of federal dollars for transit projects and the possibility of new federal infrastructure dollars money coming to the city could help fund streetcar expansion.

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