“Honoring Someone-We Shall Never Forget”
If Martin Luther KIing had the biggest impact on Black America, then Jackie Robinson had the great impact on blacks in sports.
Baseball, on the directive of former Commissioner Bud Selig, set aside April 15th as the day the game was to salute the memory of all things Jackie Robinson, meant to the game, to blacks in baseball, and to society.
It was April 15th, 1947, Jackie Robinson debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers, in a win over the Boston Braves. He went hitless but scored the winning run, via a walk and running the bases.
What followed were years of excellence, determination, and a dominant personalty to excel.
They all wore #42 yesterday across major league baseball, players, managers, coaches, even the umpires.
Whereas King’s victories were scored in places like Selma and Mobile and Atlanta, and Washington, all with his peaceful protests, Robinson’s happened other places.
From Montreal to Ebbets Field, from incidents in the Deep South in the International Legue, to hate filled road games across National League diamonds, Robinson persevered.
King was threatened, taunted, beaten, arrested, jailed, and eventually murdered.
Robinson was beaned, spiked, cursed at, bombarded with hate mail.
King stood stoically on his marches, and rallied support, black-white-and religious with his firebrand speeches.
Robinson fought his battle alone, seething, but not reacting to a bigoted intolerance that still existed in America, just years after ‘Johnny Came Marching Home’ from winning World War II, battles fought by blacks-whites-Jews and Latinos.
King’s heroics delivered us others who carried on, from Stokely Carmichael , John Lewis, Paul Robeson, Harry Belafonte to H-Rap Brown and Bobby Seale.. The battle with-in society still goes on sadly in some parts of America.
Robinson was followed by Larry Doby, Ernie Banks, Henry Aaron, and a legacy of great players, all given he chance by his talent, morals, and Constitution.
We relish in the memory of the ‘I Have a Dream Speech’ and so many other things Kings brought to our radar.
In history now we fondly remember Robinson for his accomplishments, and the shadow he cast going forward, that opened doors for so many others to play the game.
On a Sunday in the spring, we remember a special person in baseball, Robinson. A week ago, we remembered the other great African American in society, King..
We will never be a be to know in this year, how hard it was for them in that era of hate-discord-denouncement in those years.. But what they did forever changed society.
Some days you doubt that things are different or better in life, police brutality, excessive force and all. But we can hope. We had a black president. We have great black leaders, coaches, administrators.
We have great black athletes everywhere in sports.
We should forever thank Bud Selig for keeping the memory alive and allowing the message to go forth.
Jackie Robinson-Martin Luther King. We should never-ever forget, who they were, what they accomplished, how they did it, the price they paid.