“Beyond Home Plate: Jackie Robinson on Life After Baseball”
Ron Briley reviews books for the History News Network and is a history teacher and an assistant headmaster at Sandia Preparatory School, Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is the author of “The Politics of Baseball: Essays on the Pastime and Power at Home and Abroad.”
The courage and athletic ability demonstrated by Jackie Robinson in breaking Major League Baseball’s color line in 1947 and making the Brooklyn Dodgers a dominant National League club during the 1950s resulted in the ballplayer’s induction into the pantheon of baseball immortals at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Robinson’s career after he retired from the sport following the 1956 season is, however, less well known, but Robinson’s decision to take an active role in the civil rights movement provides ample proof that the courage displayed on the playing field carried over into the struggle for a democratic nation freed from the scourge of racial discrimination and segregation.
Robinson’s post-baseball career advocacy for civil rights is well developed in this collection of the former ballplayer’s columns for the New York Post from 1959 to 1960 and the New York Amsterdam News from 1962 to 1968, both of which offered Robinson national syndication to air his views. This collection of columns is edited by Dr. Michael J. Long, an associate professor of religious studies and peace and conflict studies at Elizabethtown College who is the author and editor of several scholarly volumes, including First Class Citizenship: The Civil Rights Letters of Jackie Robinson (2007), in cooperation with Jackie’s widow Rachel Robinson. Although Robinson enjoyed professional writing assistance at both newspapers, Long persuasively argues that the ideas presented in the columns were those of Robinson, who was given considerable freedom to write on a variety of topics, offering considerable insight into his views on American politics and the civil rights movement.
Read the full review of “Beyond Home Plate” at the History News Network.