Black History Month- Jackie Robinson

 

-January 31, 1919- October 24, 1972

-First black player in the MLB, making his debut in 1947 for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

-His major league debut brought an end to approximately sixty years of segregation in professional baseball.

-Him breaking of the baseball color line and his professional success symbolized these broader changes and demonstrated that the fight for equality was more than simply a political matter.

-Martin Luther King said that he was “a legend and a symbol in his own time”, and that he “challenged the dark skies of intolerance and frustration.”

-According to historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Robinson’s “efforts were a monumental step in the civil-rights revolution in America … [His] accomplishments allowed black and white Americans to be more respectful and open to one another and more appreciative of everyone’s abilities.”

-In 1999, he was posthumously named to the Major League Baseball All Century Team.

-Assessing himself, Robinson said, “I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me … all I ask is that you respect me as a human being.”

-Robinson retired from baseball on January 5, 1957.

-In 1965, Robinson served as an analyst for ABC’s Major League Baseball Game of the Week telecasts, the first black person to do so.

-On June 4, 1972, the Dodgers retired his uniform number, 42.

-From 1957 to 1964, Robinson was the vice president for personnel at Chock Full o’Nuts; he was the first black person to serve as vice president of a major American corporation.

-In 1964, he helped found, with Harlem businessman Dunbar McLaurin, Freedom National Bank—a black-owned and operated commercial bank based in Harlem. He also served as the bank’s first Chairman of the Board.

-In 1970, Robinson established the Jackie Robinson Construction Company to build housing for low-income families.

-Robinson was active in politics throughout his post-baseball life. He identified himself as a political independent, although he held conservative opinions on several issues, including the Vietnam War(he once wrote Martin Luther King, Jr. to defend the Johnson Administration’s military policy).

-After supporting Richard Nixon in his 1960 presidential race against John F. Kennedy, Robinson later praised Kennedy effusively for his stance on civil rights.

-Protesting the major leagues’ ongoing lack of minority managers and central office personnel, Robinson turned down an invitation to appear in an old-timers game at Yankee Stadium in 1969.

-He made his final public appearance on October 15, 1972, throwing the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 of the World Series.

-He gratefully accepted a plaque honoring the twenty-fifth anniversary of his MLB debut, but also commented, “I’m going to be tremendously more pleased and more proud when I look at that third base coaching line one day and see a black face managing in baseball.”

-Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1962.

-In 1997, Major League Baseball retiredhis uniform number, 42, across all major league teams.

 

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