Jackie Roosevelt Robinson of 2020

Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2020

Today would have been Jackie Roosevelt Robinson Day if we had Major League games. Many baseball fans, particularly Dodger fans, miss this special day, but COVID-19 has canceled Jackie Roosevelt Robinson Day.

Next to Babe Ruth, Robinson changed Major League Baseball forever. Unlike Ruth, Robinson changed American society forever. Without Robinson, I wouldn’t have opportunities to be educated or a job with Major League Baseball Advanced Media.

If Robinson did not exhibit the courage to break the color barrier, most minorities would not participate in American society. Beyond being a super baseball player who won the first Rookie of the Year in 1947 and Most Valuable Player in 1949, Robinson’s success with the Brooklyn Dodgers demonstrated blacks and whites could work together peacefully and accomplish much.

Robinson’s integration efforts inspired Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to begin the Civil Rights Movement. Robinson’s success in integrating Major League Baseball opened the Supreme Court to rule public schools that could be integrated. When I began school in 1977, I was forced to go to a segregated school for handicapped. From firsthand experience, I know separate is never equal. In 1982, I was allowed to attend a regular world history class, and I received a much better education than in special education.

In 1962, Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Robinson. Nowhere on his plaque, it said Robinson was the first black to play in the Major Leagues. Though breaking the color barrier was the most important aspect that Robinson did during his ten-year Major League career, he was a tremendous athlete, stealing home nineteen times and playing with diabetes since 1952. Being recognized as a great player in Baseball’s golden age is the ultimate compliment to Robinson without mentioning his race.

I must thank Jackie Roosevelt Robinson for exhibiting the courage to take the abuse to break down barriers for every minority.

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