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"Jackie Robinson Plus 60"

Rec. 4-15-07

1) 2:20 Radio essay Mp3

2) 2:49 Radio essay Mp3

Jackie Robinson + 60

[Column written 4/15/07] ©2007 Mumia Abu-Jamal

              It’s been 60 long years since the entry of Jackie Robinson into professional baseball, and in both the sport and the media, his ground-breaking era is being remembered, with a subtle kind of nostalgia.

              Jackie did indeed break the barrier, but we often confuse this with a larger barrier-breaking that didn’t really occur.

              Sport is a powerful signifier in society, to be sure: but it is also a business.

              It is not the nation.

              Jackie Robinson was projected to be something that he found it difficult to actually be: a racial or community leader, rather than a gifted athlete, who also had ideas about things larger than baseball.

              We also seem to want to downplay the hoffific struggles he had to undertake to play the ‘national pastime.’ David Zirin has written in his book, What’s My Name, Fool?: Sports and Resistance in the United States (Chi.: Haymarket Books, 2005):

                    It began to change on April 22, 1947, when the Philadelphia Phillies, led by      

                    manager Ben Chapman, chanted “Nigger”—and worse—at Robinson    

                    throughout the game. At first, Robinson ignored them as instructed: his

                    teammates also did nothing. “I felt tortured.” Robinson wrote in his

                    autobiography,

…and I tried to just play ball and ignore the insults but it was really getting to me. For one wild and rage crazed moment I thought, ‘To hell with Mr. Rickey’s noble experiment. To hell with the image of the patient black freak I was supposed to create.’ I could throw down my bat, stride over to the Phillies dugout, grab one of those white sons of bitches, and smash his teeth in with my despised black fist. Then I could walk away from it all.

                     In the end, it was Jackie’s teammates who couldn’t take it anymore. Dodger

                     leader Eddie Stanky yelled into the Phillies dugout, “Listen you yellow-bellied

                     cowards! Why don’t you pick on someone who can fight back?” The Dodgers

                     then picked up bats and edged forward until Chapman and his Phillies backed

                     down. Branch Rickey recognized the significance of the moment. “The Phillies,”

                     he later observed, “did more to unify the Dodgers than any manager could

                     have.” [pg. 44]

              Sixty years have passed, and although baseball never grabbed the hearts of subsequent generations such as basketball has, sport is still a realm of contestation, and an arena which throws light upon the larger American culture.

              It helps us not only when we remember , but when we remember fully.

--©2007maj

 


[Mr. Jamal's recent book features a chapter on the
remarkable women who helped build and defend
the Black Panther Party: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South
End Press (http://www.southendpress.org); Ph.
#1-800-533-8478.]
===============================

"When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is
just, yet refuse to defend it--at that moment you begin to die.
And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about
justice." - Mumia Abu-Jamal

MUMIA'S COLUMNS NEED TO BE PUBLISHED AS BROADLY
AS POSSIBLE TO INSPIRE PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT AND
HELP CALL ATTENTION TO HIS CASE.

The campaign to kill Mumia is in full swing and we need you to
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**especially off-line**)!! The only requirements are that you run
them *unedited*, with every word including copyright information
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THANK YOU!!!

Keep updated by reading ACTION ALERTS!!
at http://www.mumia.org, http://www.onamove.com/ and their links.
========================================

To download Mp3's of Mumia's commentaries visit
http://www.prisonradio.org or http://www.fsrn.org
==============================================>

The Power of Truth is Final -- Free Mumia!

PLEASE CONTACT:
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AND OFFER YOUR SERVICES!

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WE WHO BELIEVE IN FREEDOM CAN *NOT* REST!!

Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa

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[Check out Mumia's latest: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South
End Press (http://www.southendpress.org); Ph.
#1-800-533-8478.] 

"When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is
just, yet refuse to defend it--at that moment you begin to die.
And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about
justice." - Mumia Abu-Jamal

MUMIA'S COLUMNS NEED TO BE PUBLISHED AS BROADLY
AS POSSIBLE TO INSPIRE PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT AND
HELP CALL ATTENTION TO HIS CASE.

The campaign to kill Mumia is in full swing and we need you to
**please** contact as many publications and information outlets as
you possibly can to run Mumia's commentaries (on-line and
**especially off-line**)!! The only requirements are that you run
them *unedited*, with every word including copyright information
intact, and send a copy of the publication to Mumia and/or ICFFMAJ.
THANK YOU!!!

Keep updated by reading ACTION ALERTS!!
at http://www.mumia.org, http://www.onamove.com/ and their links.
========================================

To download Mp3's of Mumia's commentaries visit
http://www.prisonradio.org or http://www.fsrn.org
==============================================>

The Power of Truth is Final -- Free Mumia!

PLEASE CONTACT:
International Concerned Family & Friends of MAJ
P.O. Box 19709
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Phone - 215-476-8812/ Fax - 215-476-6180
E-mail - icffmaj@aol.com
AND OFFER YOUR SERVICES!

Send our brotha some LOVE and LIGHT at:
Mumia Abu-Jamal
AM 8335
SCI-Greene
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370

WE WHO BELIEVE IN FREEDOM CAN *NOT* REST!!

Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa

Subscribe: mumiacolumns-subscribe@topica.com
Read: http://topica.com/lists/mumiacolumns/read
Subscribe ICFFMAJ email updates list by e-mailing
icffmaj@aol.com!


For additional information and to order Mumia's new book We Want Freedom,

visit: southendpress.org

Check out Mumia's NEW book:
"Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life of African and African-American People" at www.africanworld.com


The Power of Truth is Final — Free Mumia!

PLEASE CONTACT:
International Concerned Family & Friends of MAJ
P.O. Box 19709
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Phone - 215-476-8812/ Fax - 215-476-6180
E-mail - AND OFFER YOUR SERVICES!

Send our brotha some LOVE and LIGHT at:
Mumia Abu-Jamal
AM 8335
SCI-Greene
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370

WE WHO BELIEVE IN FREEDOM CAN *NOT* REST!!

Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa