A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
SIMPLE LETTER MAY 13, 1958 STILL SPEAKS VOLUMES TODAY
ONE OF MANY ROBINSON LETTERS
It is Simply
one of many letters
wrote in his Lifetime
The letter pictured above to President Eisenhower, after Robinson’s playing days, while he was an executive with then Chock Full o Nuts written in 1958 is of no very special historical importance. It lies buried in the Archives.
It’s importance lies Elsewhere
it is NOT being Special
( things often being what they least appear to be )
This was a typical Jackie Robinson letter written to prominent individuals be this one to the President of the United States. It speaks to us today with overwhelming power because none of us can name a notable African American athlete today let alone the most Famous and Acclaimed who would even dream of addressing issues of Race in America publicly as Robinson did.
That as much as anything
is the reason for
the Sorry State
that exists in Sports
and in America
Where African Americans are as limited in some ways more limited today than in Jackie Robinson’s era. Sure there are more Black Basketball and Football players but as pointedly LESS Black Baseball players. And in ownership, management, executive positions, umpiring, broadcasting and journalism they are NO better than when Robinson was Fighting the Good Fight.
Let’s listen to
as expressed in this letter
My dear Mr. President
” I respectfully remind you sir, that we have been the most patient of all people. When you said we must have self-respect, I wondered how we could have self-respect and remain patient considering the treatment accorded us through the years.”
” 17 million Negroes cannot do as you suggest and wait for the hearts of men to change. We want to enjoy now the rights we feel we are entitled to as Americans. This we cannot do unless we pursue aggressively goals which all other Americans achieved over 150 years ago.”
Yes this was a letter specifically written in response to the pathetic abuses of African Americans taking place in the 1950s at the hands of the likes of segregationist governors in the Deep South including Faubus.
But the portion of the Robinson letter quoted above speaks to even larger realities and encompasses just as well struggles of today. Were Jackie Robinson playing today and after his playing days as well there is no doubt whatsoever he would be every bit as active and outspoken right now as during the 1940s and 50s.
It was the Caliber of the Man
the Depth of his Being
Robinson’s profound appreciation and awareness that being an Athlete most of all a Black Athlete provided him a responsibility that went far beyond his own well being. Robinson was the exact OPPOSITE of the Tiger Woods and Michael Jordans of today we could name names all day and all night whose sense of “responsibility” (sic) extends no further than their self serving “foundations” vehicles for getting them more attention and endorsement dollars.
What is most amazing is that there is not even one notable African American athlete today that you could credibly even vaguely speak of as being in the same Class with Jackie Robinson in their willingness to speak out …….
( for anything other than sneakers or cell phones and the like )
Whether about discriminatory conditions in their own Sport, in the Sports media, the general condition of African Americans. nor take a stand on abuses such as the Iraq invasion and occupation, or the current savage murder and destruction taking place in Lebanon, Syria and occupied Palestine.
Not ONE Jackie Robinson
Still Stands Alone
all we can do is
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