Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Jackie Robinson #42

We saw the movie "42" this evening at the Rivoli theater here in Seward. The movie was great and a pretty accurate portrayal of what Jackie Robinson had to tolerate as the first Black baseball player in the Major Leagues. While I was well aware of the importance of Branch Rickey in breaking the color barrier, the movie makes his roll even greater than I had known. Many people today may not be able to relate to, or even believe the punishment to which Robinson was subjected. I had not seen it here in Nebraska but as I traveled into the South in the early 60's, it was very evident. I was fortunate  to work for a Federal Agency that was recognized as a leader in bringing African Americans in to professional positions. We in the Soil Conservation Service worked with the 1890 Land Grant Colleges in strengthening their curriculum, providing "student trainee" opportunities and making it possible for employees to demonstrate their abilities. The efforts were successful to the extent that one such student has advanced to the top leadership position in the Agency. Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey integrated more than baseball. They paved the way for Martin Luther King to see his dream. 

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