Last night, I learned that vandals scribbled racial epithets on Jackie Robinson’s statue. (CNN’s coverage of the story) That prompted me to revisit his life and career. What I encountered was the story of a man whose mental strength was even more remarkable than his extraordinary physical talent. Though known for his achievements in baseball, did you know that Jackie Robinson was actually gifted in four sports: football, basketball, track, and baseball? He was the first UCLA student to earn varsity letters in all four sports, and he played semi-pro football in Hawaii. Did you know that he had the guts to call the Yankees racist for refusing to integrate their team, and then dealt the final blow by leading the Dodgers to defeat the Yankees in the 1955 World Series? Did you know that he was court martialed while serving in the Army World War II (and later exonerated) for refusing to sit in the back of the bus at boot camp?
In his lifetime, he was a world-renowned athlete, civil rights champion and businessman. His archetypal career can serve as a beacon to the would-be A-Rods and Armstrongs of the world. He deserves our utmost respect and our gratitude for shattering the racial barrier to this “all American” sport. To learn more about Jackie’s athletic career, visit http://www.jackierobinson.com/about/facts.html. To read about his life on and off the field, check out http://www.biography.com/people/jackie-robinson-9460813?page=1.
Better yet, let’s teach those racist vandals a lesson by donating money to the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Jackie Robinson was the youngest son of a single mother. Due to financial hardship, he had to drop out of college. Donations to the Jackie Robinson foundation will help send a disadvantaged youth to college and pay honor to his great legacy.
(Note: TheOnlyAfrointheRoom is not employed by or otherwise affiliated with the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and the opinions expressed here are those of TheOnlyAfrointheRoom’s primary author)