Number 42: Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson’s importance to sport and society is enormous. But when this site Eyewitness to History states that Jackie Robinson was the “first Black player in major league baseball”, it is incorrect. As this site from the Library of Congress notes, there were Black players in the 19th century.

Jackie Robinson broke “baseball’s color barrier”, as the Baseball Hall of Fame put it, but Continue reading

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March on Washington, a half century later

It’s likely you’ll see a LOT of stories about the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Every single one will marvel about how much progress has been made in America in the area of race, since 1963. Almost all will point to a black President, the current Attorney General, and two recent Secretaries of State as examples. The divergence in opinions come on this point: some will claim that we have “reached the promised land,” making sure to paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr. from that day a half century ago – as though he were the only speaker there – while others will suggest that we haven’t quite gotten there yet.

When President Obama suggested that we look at race again in light of the Trayvon Martin case, that Obama could have been Trayvon 35 years ago, some, such as TourĂ© at TIME, thought it was a brave personal observation. He wrote: “The assertion that blacks are hallucinating or excuse-making or lying when we talk about the many very real ways white privilege and racial bias and the lingering impact of history impact our lives is painful. It adds insult to injury to attack all assertions of racism and deny its continued impact or existence.”

Others labelled Obama “racist-in-chief”, playing the “race card” and worse. Continue reading

Movie Review: 42

Haven’t written a movie review lately because I haven’t been to the cinema since the Oscar-nominated short films four months ago. Last full-length film I saw, with the Daughter, was Wreck-It Ralph in February; last non-animated full-length film I saw, with the Wife, was Silver Linings Playbook back in January.

One of the movies I most wanted to see was 42, based on the life of baseball legend Jackie Robinson. I remember watching the TV show The View back in April from a hospital bed and being annoyed that my doctor came in, to discharge me, no less. It was just at the point Continue reading

Jackie Robinson Day

Jackie Robinson Day is an annual “event…in Major League Baseball, commemorating and honoring the day Jackie Robinson made his major league debut, in 1947. Initiated for the first time on April 15, 2004, Jackie Robinson Day is celebrated each year on that day.” The uniform number 42 has been retired by every team since 1997, though any player wearing it at the time was able to keep it until he retired, e.g. Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees. From 2007on , though, Continue reading