The Slow Integration of Major League Baseball

“Racism still exists, but one day thanks to the efforts of the early ball-players as well as pioneers like President Obama, and the undying commitment of decent Americans to accept people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or even sexual orientation, we will see a new birth of freedom.”

I truly hope so.

Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Progressive Realist in Wonderland

Jackie Robinson Shaking Branch Rickey's Hand

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Back in 1947 Branch Rickey told Jackie Robinson, “Jackie, we’ve got no army. There’s virtually nobody on our side. No owners, no umpires, very few newspapermen. And I’m afraid that many fans will be hostile. We’ll be in a tough position. We can win only if we can convince the world that I’m doing this because you’re a great ballplayer, a fine gentleman.”

My friends, last week pitchers and catchers reported to their teams for the 2016 Baseball Spring Training, and it is time to reflect again on how Branch Rickey’s signing of Jackie Robinson helped advance the Civil Rights of Blacks in the United States. What Rickey did was a watershed, and though it took time for every team in the Major Leagues to integrate, the last being the Boston Red Sox in 1959, a dozen years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier.

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Posted on 02/23/2016, in Black History Month, civil rights, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Sports played a big part in the fight for civil rights. I’m getting a security warning when I click on the link to read the rest of the article. 😦

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  2. yahtzeebutterfly

    “Jackie Robinson made it possible for me in the first place.”
    — Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. yahtzeebutterfly

    Martin Luther King said that Jackie Robinson was

    a pilgrim that walked in the lonesome byways toward the high road of Freedom. He was a sit-inner before sit-ins, a freedom rider before freedom rides.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. yahtzeebutterfly

    Supporting the civil rights movement, Jackie Robinson wrote letters and sent telegrams over the years to Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson.

    Here is a telegram (now in the National Archives) that Jackie Robinson sent to President Kennedy on June 15, 1963:

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  5. yahtzeebutterfly

    Jackie Robinson’s “We Cannot Wait” letter to President Eisenhower

    May 13, 1958

    The White House
    Washington, D.C.

    My dear Mr. President:

    I was sitting in the audience at the Summit Meeting of Negro Leaders yesterday when you said we must be patient. On hearing you say this, I felt like standing up and saying, “Oh no! Not again.”

    I respectfully remind you sir, that we have been the most patient of all people. When you said we must have self-respect, I wondered how we could have self-respect and remain patient considering the treatment accorded us through the years.

    17 Million Negroes cannot do as you suggest and wait for the hearts of men to change. We want to enjoy now the rights we feel we are entitled to as Americans. This we cannot do unless we pursue aggressively goals which all other Americans achieved over 150 years ago.

    As the chief executive of our nation, I respectively suggest that you unwittingly crush the spirit of freedom in Negroes by constantly urging forbearance and give hope to those pro-segregation leaders like Governor Faubus who would take from us even those freedoms we now enjoy. Your own experience with Governor Faubus is proof enough that forbearance and not eventual integration is the goal of the pro-segregation leaders seek.

    In my view, an unequivocal statement backed up by action such as you demonstrated you could take last fall in dealing with Governor Faubus if it became necessary, would let it be known that America is determined to provide — in the near future — for Negroes — the freedoms we are entitled to under the constitution.

    Respectfully yours,
    Jackie Robinson

    Here is the link where you can see the actual letter that is in the National Archives:
    https://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/jackie_robinson_letter/

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  6. chuquestaquenumber1

    Since the 90s African Americans numbers in baseball have dropped. The work by Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby,Frank Robinson has regressed.

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    • Hey Chuquest. Do you have an idea why? I don’t follow sports, so am not qualified to know how baseball has changed. I remember the movie “The Bingo Long Traveling All Stars and Motor Kings” which was about “Negro baseball” and their efforts to get into the major league. The character played by Richard Prior formed an accent to impersonate being Cuban because a Black man from another country would be recruited before a Black American.

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      • chuquestaquenumber1

        I’ve read that African American children don’t play baseball like they used to. Recruiters see more African American children are into basketball and football and don’t recruit like they used to. The farming systems of countries like Dominican republic,Venezuela etc produce players. Some of the answers.

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