Jackie Robinson Day

jroOn April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson played his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers. In doing so, he became the first African-American to play in the major leagues of baseball, breaking the racist colour barriers that shamefully tarnish the history of the great game of baseball. Jackie Robinson was a wonderfully talented player who earned the praise of fans for his play on the field. He also earned praise for his courage and determination in the face of a racist society that continued to resist the equal participation of non-whites in the game and in the everyday life of the nation. Robinson faced racial taunting and violence on the field, and untold indignities and threats away from the ballpark. Thankfully his determination led the way for more black players to follow and helped our society move along the long slow path towards changing attitudes, promoting acceptance and tolerance, and the goal of eliminating racism. Today in all MLB parks, players will wear #42 in honour of Jackie Robinson.

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Jackie Robinson Day

jroOn April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson played his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers. In doing so, he became the first African-American to play in the major leagues of baseball, breaking the racist colour barriers that shamefully tarnish the history of the great game of baseball. Jackie Robinson was a wonderfully talented player who earned the praise of fans for his play on the field. He also earned praise for his courage and determination in the face of a racist society that continued to resist the equal participation of non-whites in the game and in the everyday life of the nation. Robinson faced racial taunting and violence on the field, and untold indignities and threats away from the ballpark. Thankfully his determination led the way for more black players to follow and helped our society move along the long slow path towards changing attitudes, promoting acceptance and tolerance, and the goal of eliminating racism. Today in all MLB parks, players will wear #42 in honour of Jackie Robinson.

Jackie Robinson Day

jroOn April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson played his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers. In doing so, he became the first African-American to play in the major leagues of baseball, breaking the racist colour barriers that shamefully tarnish the history of the great game of baseball. Jackie Robinson was a wonderfully talented player who earned the praise of fans for his play on the field. He also earned praise for his courage and determination in the face of a racist society that continued to resist the equal participation of non-whites in the game and in the everyday life of the nation. Robinson faced racial taunting and violence on the field, and untold indignities and threats away from the ballpark. Thankfully his determination led the way for more black players to follow and helped our society move along the long slow path towards changing attitudes, promoting acceptance and tolerance, and the goal of eliminating racism. Today in all MLB parks, players will wear #42 in honour of Jackie Robinson.

On this day in history: Hank Aaron Became the Home Run King

It is difficult for us today to understand the significance of April 8, 1974.  On that day in Atlanta, Henry Aaron hit his 715th career home run in Major League Baseball. In doing so Aaron surpassed the record of the legendary Babe Ruth, a record that had stood for 40 years.

That it was the Bambino`s record that was broken was massive. Babe Ruth still holds a place in the pantheon of Baseball icons.  However, in 1974 the Babe was, in the minds of most Americans, the greatest ball player, if not the greatest athlete, of all time. The home run mark of 714 seemed unassailable when it was set in the 1930`s. But even more significant than the record was the colour of the skin of the man who broke it. Hank Aaron was black.  For an African-American, a negro as he would have been known for most of his career, to break the greatest record in sports, was unthinkable. Hank Aaron still has the letters to prove it:

Hank Aaron has the letters tucked away in his attic, preserved these last 40 years. He’s not ready to let them go.

He almost has them memorized by now, but still he carefully opens them up and reads every word, as if he wants to feel the pain.

“You are (not) going to break this record established by the great Babe Ruth if I can help it,” one of them reads. “Whites are far more superior than jungle bunnies. My gun is watching your every black move.”

Yes, Aaron even saved the death threats, the ones that vowed to end his life if he dared break Ruth’s cherished all-time home run record. (USA TODAY)

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I Have a Dream

Today in the School Library students and staff will have the opportunity to view the famous “I Have a Dream” speech of Martin Luther King Jr. We will discuss the life of Dr. King, the Civil Rights Movement, and the ongoing struggle for racial equality and justice in our society.  As Americans observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a state holiday, we in Canada can also celebrate the work of Dr. King, who stood for non-violent protest, peace, forgiveness and love.

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Malcolm X

MalcolmXBorn Malcolm Little in 1925, he grew up in poverty and lived a life crime. While in prison he worked to self-educate and converted to Islam, taking the Muslim name El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. Publicly he became known as Malcolm X, dropping what he referred to as his “slave name.” He would become one of the leading figures of the fight for equality for African-Americans. In contrast to Martin Luther King who called for non-violent protest, Malcolm X believed that violence would be necessary for black people to gain their rights. He was considered a black-supremacist who believed that blacks and whites could never live together. Just prior to his death, he disavowed that position and preached the equality of all people. He embraced the possibility of peaceful change and a willingness to work with other Civil Rights leaders. He was assassinated in 1965 by members of the group he formerly led, the Nation of Islam.

For more on the life of Malcolm X, click here.