Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The first African American player in Major League Baseball was Jackie Robinson. Naturally, the two men are tied together in ways that inspire.
Nearly a decade after his playing career was over, Robinson joined King, Jr. at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. The bond between Robinson and MLK was one that has lasted the test of time.
Robinson, one of the greatest players in the history of baseball, had fought through incredible amounts of racism just to play a game. King, Jr. fought to end all racism. The two men were naturally tied together nearly 53 years ago when the March on Washington happened.
And their bond started even earlier. In 1962, at the Southern Christian Leadership Council’s annual Freedom Dinner in Birmingham, Alabama, Robinson spoke about the vision he had for his children going forward.
“All I want for my children — and I think all you want for yours — is a fair and equal chance and respect for their dignity as human beings. Give us that and we’ll do the rest.”
There are not enough words to express even close to the amount of thanks we have for both men. On January 31st, Jackie Robinson would have been 97 years old. This past Friday, January 15th, would have been Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 87th birthday. They might be gone, but they are certainly never forgotten.
The lasting imprint they left on society as a whole will not be washed away by the turning of the calendar. Their life’s works will carry on as ripples in the water, and it has most assuredly touched all who have come since them.
If you would like to read the entirety of Robinson’s speech from that 1962 event, you can click the following link: The 9-page Speech By Jackie Robinson.