Jackie Robinson’s jersey
To commemorate the historic moment of Major League Baseball’s integration 75 years ago, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture has displayed a jersey of baseball icon Jackie Robinson for a limited time. . The jersey, one of about five known to have been worn by Robinson, will remain on display until May 1 in the museum’s ‘Sports: Leveling the Playing Field’ gallery.
Additionally, the museum will hold a special event on April 15, also known as Jackie Robinson Day, to discuss Robinson’s legacy. Moderated by Justin Tinsley, Senior Culture Editor of Countryside, the panel will include Greg Carr, professor of African studies at Howard University, Damion Thomas, curator of the sports museum, AJ Andrews, professional softball player, and Elaine Weddington Steward, vice president and club lawyer for the Red Sox from Boston. In 1990, Steward became assistant general manager of the Boston Red Sox, making her the first woman and the second African American in Major League Baseball to hold the position. The public can Register for the live-streamed event and learn more about Robinson on the museum’s new webpage”Celebrate Jackie.”
“Robinson’s debut as the first African American in Major League Baseball was a catalyst not only for mainstreaming the sport, but also for broader movements that advocated civil rights and equality for all African Americans. -Americans,” said Damion Thomas, curator of sports at the museum. “Seventy-five years later, the legacy of Robinson’s courageous act is considered a defining moment in history.”
An outstanding baseball player, Robinson joined Major League Baseball on April 15, 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York, wearing the number “42”. The jersey on display in the museum is Robinson’s road jersey from the 1951 baseball season. His major league debut played a pivotal role in how the nation would react to the teams’ integration. In doing so, he became the biggest name in baseball since Babe Ruth and won Rookie of the Year. Its success had ramifications far beyond the playing field, as many African-American leaders viewed the “noble experiment” as a model of widespread integration. After Robinson’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. remarked on the monumental influence Robinson’s career had on the Civil Rights Movement: Freedom Rides.
During the first half of the 20th century, Major League Baseball excluded African-American players from their rosters. Most black players have turned to black leagues to show off their skills domestically. In 1945, Rickey, general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, decided to take the first step towards entering the major leagues.
Rickey had already begun scouting the Negro leagues for potential players to add to the Dodgers’ roster when he identified Robinson as a potential pick. As a college-educated military officer and non-Southern Negro League player with a level-headed demeanor, Robinson was seen by many as an ideal candidate to be the first African American to play in the major leagues. Two years after meeting Rickey, Robinson played his first major league game, making him the first African-American player in the modern era of professional baseball and breaking the game’s color barrier.
Throughout his career, Robinson was heavily involved in activism and consistently advocated for greater efforts to reform Major League Baseball. After retiring in 1955, he focused his popularity and voice on activism and the civil rights movement. He was one of the most sought after speakers and fundraisers for the NAACP.
In 1997, 50 years after Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, Major League Baseball retired its number 42 jersey from all teams; he is the first and only major professional sports player in the United States to receive this honor. In 2004, Major League Baseball officially declared April 15 as “Jackie Robinson Day” in commemoration of Robinson’s debut and the integration into Major League Baseball.
The museum is now open to the public seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Visitors can enter the museum until 4 p.m. Free passes for the hour are required for entry.
About the National Museum of African American History and Culture
Since opening on September 24, 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has welcomed more than 7.5 million in-person visitors and millions more through its digital presence. Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the nearly 400,000 square foot museum is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and presenting African-American history and its impact. on American and world history. For more information about the museum, visit nmaahc.si.edu and follow @NMAAHC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000.