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Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Remembering #42

This Day in History: April 15, 1947

It is the 1940s. America embraces her favorite pastime...baseball. That's right, baseball, NOT football. Not even golf. This is the era of baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet...the American Classics! It is life linked to American pride and being "white."
 



A life is not important except in the impact it has on others lives. ~Jackie Robinson

The year: 1947. The game: Baseball. The outcome: Breaking a racial barrier. 

Baseball from its inception was known as "white" baseball. As with many aspects of life in late 19th century America, baseball was segregated. Over many decades black players were members of the Negro leagues only. It did not matter how good a player one might be, simply the color of his skin could keep him out of the Major League. Some really great African-American players did cross the threshold of the racial barrier, however, but not as Negros. Instead, they were listed as Hispanic or Native American.

So, why was Jackie Robinson chosen to break the racial barrier?


Jackie Robinson in Brooklyn Dodgers Uniform,
During Filming of "The Jackie Robinson Story"
Robinson actually became baseball's "great experiment," an experiment that transformed our national pastime into an integrated game. Brooklyn Dodgers general manager, Branch Rickey, scouted for just the right player to bring about the desegregation of the major leagues. He looked for a skilled African-American ballplayer who would also be able to handle the prejudice, pressure, and hype. He found in Jackie Robinson the skills and expertise he was looking for and talent on the field that was absolutely phenomenal! Rickey signed a contract with Jackie Robinson knowing he was a strong individual capable of standing up to intense public observation and able to avoid confrontation even when met with insults and hostility.

If a player punched him or spiked him with cleats, or pitched a baseball at his head that might kill him, he couldn't respond. If an ump made an unfair call, he couldn't respond. If hotels refused to house him with his team, if teams protested his presence on the field or cancelled games to avoid him, he couldn't respond. If the papers vilified him, he couldn't respond. If spectators cursed him or ordered him to shine their shoes or threw black cats onto the field, he couldn't respond. If he got death threats pinned inside his locker, or if his wife was harassed in the stands, he couldn't respond.

All those things happened.
Source: Jackie Robinson Breaking the Color Barrier