Keller: Jackie Robinson’s strength changed race relations

Published 12:01 am Saturday, February 16, 2019

As we celebrate Black History Month, I recall how on April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers took the field and broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball.

I was only 12 years old then, loved baseball and was a Dodgers fan with a dream of maybe playing major league baseball.

I immediately became a fan of Jackie Robinson.

His action on the field spoke loudly for him, but his commitment to prove himself showed people his character and courage off the field.

He won the hearts of many who despised his entry into what people thought was a white man’s sport.

Jackie lettered in football, baseball, basketball and track at UCLA. He served his country in the U.S. Army and received an honorable discharge after being court-martialed and found not guilty for refusing to sit in the back of a military bus in Fort Hood, Texas.

That got the attention of executive with the Dodgers, Branch Rickey, because as a Christian he was moved by Jackie’s inclination to stand his ground.

In August, 1945, Clyde Sukeforth, a Dodgers scout, approached Jackie on behalf of Mr. Rickey, who wanted to integrate baseball, but needed the right person.

On Aug. 28, 1945, Rickey and Jackie met and agreed that Jackie, being a fighter, would not fight back, regardless of the ugly abuse.

That agreement changed, not only baseball, but literally changed the course of American history.

For all the people who think one person cannot invoke change, all you have to do is look at Jackie Robinson.

I believe he did as much for his race and America as anyone else.

If you have any questions or comments, please write Harold Keller at Get High on Life, P.O. Drawer U, Reserve, LA 70084, call 985-542-8477 or email