Today is Jackie Robinson Day which is normally celebrated in every Major League Baseball park with all players wearing his #42. The Coronavirus has made that impossible so I am sharing some of my favorite Jackie Robinson quotes Let’s use his courage and resilience to help us get through these days of terrible uncertainty and look forward to the day when sport resumes and can help us unite as a nation.
On a personal note, I was lucky enough to meet Jackie when I was seven years old and he and my Dad, then the Coach of the Knicks, were co-keynoters at a fund raiser at Madison Square Garden. I had no idea of who he was as a pioneer but I was a Dodger fan and he was a star on “my team.” I never forgot that meeting.
Many years later I became blessed to meet and then become dear friends with Jackie’s amazing wife Rachel who is now 96 and is as beautiful and elegant as ever. Literally the last time I traveled in this Coronavirus era was to be with Rachel and her amazing daughter Sharon at the Jackie Robinson Foundation Gala in New York City on March 2nd. This is a picture from that night.
Here are the quotes from Jackie Robinson.
A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.
The black press, some liberal sportswriters, and even a few politicians were banging away at those Jim Crow barriers in baseball. I never expected the walls to come tumbling down in my lifetime.
I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made.
After two years at UCLA, I decided to leave. I was convinced that no amount of education would help a black man get a job.
I speak to you only as an American who happens to be an American Negro and one who is proud of that heritage. We ask for nothing special. We ask only that we be permitted to compete on an even basis, and if we are not worthy, then the competition shall, per se, eliminate us.
I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me... All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.
The right of every American to first-class citizenship is the most important issue of our time.
Many people resented my impatience and honesty, but I never cared about acceptance as much as I cared about respect.
There's not an American in this country free until every one of us is free.