42 “The Truth Behind the Number”



FNN CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY: FEB. 18, 2014. Last year, 42 hit a homerun on the big screen with box office record numbers. This movie showed us all that Jackie Robinson’s true dignity went far beyond the scope of his number. His story inspired and entertained so many with a vital chapter in this nation’s history. He was a trailblazer who was not flashy, or flamboyant. He was a well-mannered family man—reserved, and dignified. The movie showed us how the toll that racism and life took on him makes him that much more of a true hero as he stood with his head up and persevered on.

Jackie Robinson was a hero of both civil rights and baseball. Growing up in California, he was very athletic and excelled at football, basketball, track, and baseball. When it came time to go pro, he chose baseball. The year was 1944, and because baseball was segregated, Robinson played for the Negro leagues. His talents got the attention of so many—and one was Branch Rickey, the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who wanted to integrate baseball.

As the first black major league baseball player, Robinson became the target of malicious behavior. Fans taunted him from the stands, and rival players threw pitches at him and spat on him. Robinson, though, was a true professional, becoming one his team's "Most Valuable Players" in 1949. Jackie Robinson is a favorite among so many young people around the world today. He is known as one of baseball's greatest players. His success opened the way for other minority athletes to play in the major leagues.

Jaylin Jerry is a 7th grade scholar at Friendship Woodridge Academy.