Smith: Jackie Robinson showed me how to fight on, not fight back

From Claire Smith at the New York Times on January 31, 2019:

As an African-American woman who has written about baseball for decades, the question I am most asked about my career choice is: “Why?”

The answer is really as succinct as the question: Jackie Robinson.

He was the man who, born 100 years ago, successfully took on the challenge of transforming baseball and, by extension, the entire country by becoming the first African-American to play in the modern era. By stepping onto a major league diamond as a Brooklyn Dodger 72 years ago, he allowed a sport that thought of itself as the national pastime to finally be just that.

What Robinson did, what he stood for, what he conveyed not only to black America, but to all of America, has resonated with me for as long as I can remember, and nothing else played as big a role in fueling my desire to be a writer, a recorder of history, a storyteller.

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Originally published: January 31, 2019. Last Updated: January 31, 2019.