WTVM Editorial 04/22/22: 75 Years of Progress

WTVM Editorial 04/22/22: 75 Years of Progress
Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 1:52 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Last week was an anniversary that should remind all of us of the glorious achievements of the civil rights movement of the 1950s, 60s and beyond.

75 years ago, baseball officially became integrated thanks to the selfless determination of Jackie Robinson.

April 15th might be tax day but since 1947 it’s also the day number 42 first stepped up to the plate for the Brooklyn Dodgers. What made Jackie Robinson so great wasn’t necessarily his gamesmanship, though he was so good he was the first “Rookie of the Year” when that award was created.

Robinson proved himself to be great because he refused to let racist taunts and personal threats distract him from playing the game.

Robinson showed the country he was a good man, a talented ball player and his race just happened to be a part of who he was. Robinson was smart, driven and political enough…NOT to be political. His baseball boss Branch Rickey wanted to integrate baseball and knew he had to find the almost perfect man to do it. Rickey chose Robinson precisely because Robinson understood he’d be under a microscope and had to be a role model on the field and off.

He made the most of that opportunity.

Jackie Robinson even played himself in a popular movie about his life story. After his retirement from baseball, Robinson became a successful businessman and a vocal civil rights leader, finally able to speak his mind about the importance of equal rights for all.

Yes, racism still exists, but 75 years ago, Jackie Robinson proved he had the character to confront it head on…and win. It was one of many first steps that added momentum and created real progress in the fight for civil rights - progress that deserves to be remembered, just like Jackie Robinson.

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