Home Historical art John “Buck” O’Neil receives the key to the city of Sarasota

John “Buck” O’Neil receives the key to the city of Sarasota

0

The lasting legacy of John “Buck” O’Neil was honored with the Key to the City of Sarasota on July 24 to celebrate his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The key, commemorating O’Neil’s powerful history in the community, will be donated to the Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition for display at the future Sarasota African American Arts and Culture Center located in Newtown.

“Buck O’Neil has made countless contributions to the city of Sarasota and had a profound impact on the African-American community,” said Sarasota Vice Mayor Kyle Battie. “He is a shining example of strength and has broken down barriers for children and adults. It is an honor for me to celebrate his well-deserved induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and present him with the key to the city.

Buck O'Neil at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo., in 2006. O'Neil grew up in Sarasota in the 1920s and played and managed for 18 years in the Negro Leagues from 1938 to 1955.

O’Neil grew up in Sarasota in the 1920s and played and managed for 18 years in the Negro leagues from 1938 to 1955. He did not play in the major leagues. O’Neil, who died in 2006 at age 94, became the first black major league coach in 1962 when he was hired by the Chicago Cubs to coach third base. In 1994, he achieved national notoriety for his narration of black leagues in Ken Burns’ baseball documentary.

The city’s citation at a downtown community celebration follows the recent unveiling of a mural in the Rosemary Art & Design District (RADD) commemorating O’Neil’s legacy and the path he opened for future generations. Part of the Gilbert Mural Initiative, the mural cements O’Neil’s legacy in the old Overtown.

“Iconic Baseball Legend”

“We sat down with all of the organizations that helped us honor Buck today and ultimately decided that this key truly belongs to the Sarasota Center for African American Arts and Culture so that it can inspire future generations. “said Anand Pallegar, founder of DreamLarge and RADD who accepted the key on behalf of the assembly.

“As an iconic baseball legend and historic figure in Newtown, his legacy in pursuing equality in baseball for African Americans is something every person in our community should understand and recognize,” Pallegar said.

The mural is painted by artist Matt McAllister and was supported by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Baltimore Orioles Foundation, DreamLarge, Newtown Alive, RADD and the Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition.

The Rosemary Art & Design District began as an initiative of DreamLarge and a group of community-focused creatives with a mission to advance RADD as Sarasota’s art and design district while preserving cultural history of Overtown. For more information, visit rosemarydistrict.org.

The Gilbert Mural Initiative is a multi-year initiative led by RADD to celebrate and preserve the history of the Rosemary District. Visit rosemarydistrict.org/gilbert-mural-initiative.

Submitted by Julia Groom