Philadelphia Apologizes to Jackie Robinson Decades After Racial Discrimination
Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson is posthumously getting an official apology from Philadelphia for the racist treatment he received decades ago in a resolution passed on March 31.
It was passed unanimously by the city’s council members, and recognizes April 15 as a day to honor Robinson’s achievements, which is the anniversary of when the ball player broke the color barrier by becoming the first black player in Major League Baseball.
Back in 1947 when Robinson played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, with the number 42, a local hotel in Philadelphia refused to provide services for him.
That was only part of the mistreatment from the city towards the baseball player.
Robinson was also taunted by Phillies manager Ben Chapman, who along with the team’s players, yelled racist insults to Robinson every time he went up to bat.
The resolution claims that Chapman yelled “go back to the cotton fields” to Robinson at the time. It also says that, “Robinson had particularly virulent racism directed against him.”
The unpleasant event was highlighted in the 2013 biopic “42”.
“His bravery and leadership in pushing back against segregation benefited countless people during his lifetime and beyond, and his example continues to inspire young athletes to this day,” states the resolution.
Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born in Cairo, Ga., in 1919 to a family of sharecroppers. He was named National League Rookie of the year in 1947. He led his team, the Dodgers, to victory in the 1955 World Series.
In 1962, Robinson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, the first African American to receive the merit.
He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, and five honorary degrees for his resilience in eradicating racial inequality.
“The City of Philadelphia commemorates Jackie Robinson for a courageous life that fought for the ideal that America’s freedoms are worthy of all Americans,” said the resolution about Robinson’s fight for racial justice.
Robinson died in 1972. A year later his wife, Rachel Robinson, founded the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which provides scholarships to students in need.
The apology, on behalf of Philadelphia, will be presented to Robinson’s widow.