Jackie Robinson: An American Hero
Jackie Robinson is pictured in his prime. Jackie broke through barriers that had kept African-Americans from fully participating in the American dream.
As was published yesterday in an account written by John Kerry and Robinson's widow, Rachel Robinson:
His fight for racial equality was so profound that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. called him ''a legend and a symbol in his own time" who ''challenged the dark skies of intolerance and frustration."
As sportswriter Maury Allen wrote:
Robinson was not just about baseball. He was about equality, about decency, about morality, about injustice, about ending a wrong with a right after more than 60 years of America and Americans in and out of the game suggesting a kid born with a black skin could not be a big leaguer.
Kids across the country, well back into the last quarter of the 19th century, dreamed of playing big league ball as they hit rocks with sticks on city lots and farm fields, college parks and neighborhood lots, cement school yards and grassy diamonds. Only white kids could make that dream live. Black kids could only hawk their athletic wares in Negro leagues.
Then along came a man named Branch Rickey, general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers who wanted to right that wrong and make a little money along the way. On October 23, 1945, he signed a UCLA baseball, football, basketball and track star out of Pasadena, California named Jack Roosevelt Robinson to a Brooklyn Dodgers contract.
Robinson once said:
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives."Maybe that is something we all must live by as we judge our own lives and our own accomplishments.
It is the other lives that matter. When we judge a nation, it isn't about how they lowered the taxes for the wealthy. It isn't about how they dismantled Social Security for the elderly. It isn't about how they helped corporations make more money at the expense of the environment. It is how they help others. How they make peace and not war. How they educate and not indoctrinate. How they protect freedom and not just use the word as a slogan. America can and will get back on that path of caring and leadership the world demands. And we shall be doing this with John Kerry in the White House.
Thank you Senator Kerry for helping honor a great American who refused to let others tell him what he could or couldn't do because of the color of his skin. And Senator Kerry, your impact is only beginning. America is waiting for you in 2008! Keep that door open and let us all walk through it together to a brighter future!