This past week on PBS, they aired the documentary that was done on Jackie Robinson.
By showing the context of Jackie Robinson’s life, including many stories about how he grew up, and what happened in his life, it brought out just how much of true American Hero Jackie Robinson was.
Jackie Robinson was so much more than baseball player.
He was an athlete.
He was a husband.
He was a father.
He was an activist.
He was an American committed in pushing his country towards how it should be.
Things I learned about Jackie Robinson.
His brother was an Olympic Athlete. Won Medals at the games in Berlin.
When he came back to his country – after dispelling Hitler’s ‘Master Race’ propaganda, the only job he could find was STREET SWEEPER.
An Olympic Athlete ——A STREET SWEEPER.
Jackie Robinson missed being at Pearl Harbor by a couple of days.
Jackie Robinson was a 4 SPORT -VARSITY ATHLETE at UCLA.
Jackie Robinson joined the Army, and even though he had years of College, he was REJECTED for Officer Candidate School – BECAUSE HE WAS BLACK.
Jackie Robinson was finally admitted into Officer Candidate School – becoming one of the first Black Officers – because of Heavyweight champion Joe Louis.
Jackie Robinson had a Court Martial because he wouldn’t subject to Jim Crow laws on the Army base. He was acquitted, but left the Army.
They showed why Robinson was chosen by Branch Rickey, and the deal they made in order for Robinson to be signed.
One of my favorite parts of the documentary was showing the relationship with his wife Rachel, from their initial courtship.
Mrs. Robinson describes how she was attracted to Jackie, not just because he was BMOC Athlete, but because he was comfortable in his own skin. He was ‘never ashamed of being Black’.
In Rachel, Jackie Robinson found his equal. A woman who was getting an education, going into an actual profession – nursing, and who would stand her own ground and speak her own mind. They had ups and downs, but even when broken up, Rachel didn’t sit around waiting for Jackie – she went on with her own life, and when he realized that he didn’t want his life to proceed without her, he manned up and made it happen!
Mrs. Robinson saw her part in their marriage as a partnership, and that she was his refuge. She could keep life normal for Jackie, and provide for him a home full of love and support where the worries of the outside world could be left at their doorstep.
Seeing the story of Jackie and Rachel Robinson being told, it truly was fitting that President and Mrs. Obama were involved in this documentary. As they spoke of the relationship of Jackie and Rachel, one could not help but understand that what they said about the Robinsons, could be applied to themselves as the first Black inhabitants of the White House.
After leaving baseball, Jackie Robinson could have sat on his laurels. But, he didn’t.
He was a Citizen Activist until he died. Never shying away from the Civil Rights Movement. Always trying to find a way where he could help.
I can’t recommend enough this documentary. It was wonderful.
Rachel Robinson and Ken Burns
Mrs. Rachel Robinson at 92 years young.