Beyond The Diamond

Updated: November 15, 2007


Jackie Robinson Book THE NEW BOOK

What a perfect day

to read a new book

about Jackie Robinson

following Barry Bonds’

long expected indictment

Arrogance and self indulgence compared to selflessness and commitment to the Greater Good. Barry Bonds ( and so so many others ) would not have been worthy enough to shine Jackie Robinson’s baseball shoes.

Jackie Robinson who was completely comfortable living in two worlds. Where Sports was Sports as his great great career proved beyond any doubt, but in a world where Sports was also a means to a Greater Good. Barry Bonds and many other African Americans are incapable of containing both ideas in their minds. Even less so when pumped up on Steroids. Bonds idea of the Greater Good was finding a way to hit even more Home Runs no matter how because other players were hitting more than him.

But this is not about Barry Bonds

it could not be less about him

it is about still more insight

into Jackie Robinson

beyond the Diamond

How he used his letter writing skills and his fame for years and years to confront American society and its leaders in the cause of fairness and justice for African Americans. Imagine today’s Black players writing letters about anything. Or emails for that matter. Only if its about them flattering themselves and making more money and getting attention.

Let’s get to the Book

from the dust cover

” In First Class Citizenship, Jackie Robinson comes alive on the page for the first time in decades. The scholar Michael G. Long has unearthed a remarkable trove of Robinson’s correspondence with—and personal replies from—such towering figures as Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Hubert Humphrey, Nelson Rockefeller, and Barry Goldwater. These extraordinary conversations reveal the scope and depth of Robinson’s effort during the 1950s and 1960s to rid America of racism. ”

This from one of Robinson’s

many biographers …..

” These letters from and to Jackie Robinson demonstrate clearly the stirring political and intellectual reach of the man, his rare courage and vision. They document his unrelenting desire to match his prowess on the baseball field with significant achievements in politics, business, and civil rights. It is clear that, compared to Robinson, few of our star athletes have possessed as profound a sense of responsibility to their fellow citizens–rich and poor, black and white–and to their nation as a whole.”

From the book’s recent review

in the Los Angeles Times

” Robinson is beloved today, but his work to advance civil rights in the political arena has been largely forgotten. A new collection of his correspondence, compiled by Michael G. Long, a professor at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, should help change that. “First Class Citizenship: The Civil Rights Letters of Jackie Robinson” reveals a man unfamiliar to those who know him primarily as a pioneering ballplayer.”

And from the new book’s

author Michael G. Long

“At first I was not sure what to do with the letters, but after returning to my hotel and watching yet another television program on athletes “gone bad,” I resolved to share that precious file with the wider world. We deserve a much better role model from professional sports, I thought, and who better than Jackie Robinson.”

And finally an excerpt from

one of Robinson’s letters to

Senator John F. Kennedy

May 25, 1959

“I want nothing more than is given to all Americans, and because I believe the Negroes’ stake in America is very strong, I and many Negroes I know intend to press for equal opportunity. Until this end is obtained, sir, I don’t believe our democracy can work completely. I am sure you have to agree the Negro has proven his loyalty to our country. It is now time for our country to prove its loyalty to the Negro as well.”

There are so many letters from Robinson to the powerful and the famous as well as those who were not. And replies and letters to Robinson from a who’s who of his time. Robinson had his critics both inside the Black community and far more outside of it for his very vocal positions on many issues but most of all for fairness and equality for all African Americans, and supporting the Civil Rights Movement.

So today when the headlines

are dominated by Barry Bonds

while millions debate his Fate

turn your attention to a far far

more powerful figure in Sports

and a true role model for All

read the letters of

Jackie Robinson

Whenever you want to reach us with comments or better yet an idea for a topic for the Box …….

Jackie Robinson