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Here’s to you, Mr Robinson

The 15th April 1947 was a momentous year. This was the year when the greatest American baseball player of all time African American Jackie Robinson made his debut as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was the first African American to play professional baseball and he went on to become a national icon.

Jackie suffered the ignominy of travelling on the back of the team bus. Opposing players and members of his own team attacked him. He was determined to prove that black Americans could play baseball as good as anyone else. That grit and determination saw Jackie through all of the racism he faced and he challenged anyone who expressed racist views. Having endured countless insults two years after his debut Jackie won the Most Valuable Player of the year accolade, and became the first black member of the All Star Squad.

Robinson changed the rule of the game and paved the way for African Americans, and Thursday saw the US celebrate his momentous achievements on their annual Jackie Robinson Day. The National League held a “Civil Rights Game“ at which all the players wore Jackie’s number 42 in his honor.

He ensured that African Americans, Hispanics and others were given a chance to prove themselves. Furthermore, his example proved once and for all that when the rules are clear, the playing field is even and the referee is fair -black people can achieve great things. We tip our hat to Jackie Robinson.

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