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I see a young boy Saying He's going to run away. Deep inside, It's already happened. Ronny Dibbern (Grade 8) From Ten-Second Rainshowers: Poems by young people. Compiled by Sanford Lynne

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

3 R's of Racial Reconciliation

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter R

Roadtrip #atozchallenge 2021 

 There are many definitions for racial reconciliation.  At one point some people at Wheaton College asked their students, staff and alumni to define it in 6 words or less. My favorite of these definitions was ...

"Pursuit of equal partnership in relationships"

By that definition my 3 R's who were living in 1921 epitomized that definition in their greatest achievements.  Those 3 people are Branch Rickey, Jackie Robinson and Rosa Parks.  Each of these people in their own way pursued an equal partnership in relationships and in doing so they shaped 20th century America.


                                                           Branch Rickey

                                                            Years lived before 1921: Forty

                                                            Years lived after 1921: Forty-four

Branch Rickey was a professional football and baseball player but was best known for being am innovative manager and general manager in Major League Baseball.  Among his innovations were the minor league system, spring training, and the use of advanced statistics.  

As a general manager, Rickey was a shrewd businessman. One example of this was is found in one of the innovations he brought to baseball.  He was the first general manager to mandate that all his players wear batting helmets. It turns out that Rickey owned stock in the company manufacturing those helmets.  

Rickey was also a devoted and vocal Christian. In 1965 according to Wikipedia Rickey's last audible words were "Now I'm going to tell you a story from the Bible about spiritual courage" .  These were his last words as he collapsed in the middle of a speech  , went into a coma for 26 days before dying on 12/9/1965.

Rickey's courage, Christian character and business acumen were all combined in his greatest lifetime achievement orchestrating the breaking of the color line in major league baseball.

Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey make baseball history.

Jackie Robinson

Years lived before 1921: Two
Years lived after 1921: Fifty-one

On April `15, 1947 Jackie Robinson made his debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Becoming the first African American on a Major League Baseball (MLB) team in the 20th century.  Exactly fifty years later on 4/15/87 the MLB  retired #42 (Robinson's Jersey #) throughout the league.  Rickey had handpicked the four sport (baseball, football, track and basketball) UCLA standout to desegregate baseball.  One of the reasons Rickey picked Robinson aside from his obvious baseball prowess was his character.  Rickey thought Robinson had what it took to withstand the abuse that would be heaped on the first black baseball player.  

Robinson proved Rickey right and between his determination and his skill he successfully bridged the color gap in the National League.

One way Robinson demonstrated to Ricker that he was the right person to the job happened when Jackie was in the army.  Robinson had been drafted in 1942 and was serving in a tank division.  In 1944 he was on a desegregated Army bus but the bus driver ordered him to go to the back of the bus anyway.  Robinson refused, was arrested, and there was an attempt to get him court-martialed.  Robinson was acquitted.

Rosa Parks

Years lived before 1921: Eight
Years lived after 1921: Eighty-four

On December 1, 1955 a seamstress from Birmingham Alabama  refused to give her seat up to a white passenger.  This seamstress was of course Rosa Parks.  Like Robinson 15 years prior she was not legally obligated to give up her seat as she was sitting in the colored section at the time.  She was arrested, beginning a 1 year bus strike which eventually led to the end of segregation on public busses.

When I think of Rickey, Robinson and Rosa I think of ordinary people willing to take a stand for what is right.  I hope 100 years from now there r more people like that to celebrate.  For more A to Z challenge click here

If you are visiting from the road trip, you can get to the rest of my a to z posts by clicking here

 1921 Index In Progress 
















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