Monday, July 2, 2012

The 100 Greatest Brooklynites of All Time: 5 to 1

Posted By on Mon, Jul 2, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Page 5 of 6


2. Jackie Robinson

Of course, Jackie Robinson was an electrifying baseball player, as the song tells us:

Did you see Jackie Robinson hit that ball?
(Did he hit it?) Yeah, and that ain't all.
He stole home. Yes, yes, Jackie's real gone.

But as we all know, simply being a great athlete wasn’t enough for Major League Baseball’s first African-American: he had to be tough, brave, resilient, and committed. For in coming to represent for black Americans a momentous shift in the idea of what was possible, he also served as a repository for the fury of a racist white America afraid of the inevitable change he symbolized. And so he endured an endless stream of abuse from all directions—both verbal and physical—and bore it all with the kind of grace and quiet dignity that would come to define the Civil Rights movement of the ensuing 15 years.

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