Trailblazer Jackie Robinson's contribution honored in ALA's new poster

Contact: Mark Gould


For Immediate Release

May 2002

Trailblazer Jackie Robinson's contribution honored in ALA's new poster

To commemorate the contributions of the player who broke the color barrier in baseball and fought tirelessly to improve conditions for African-Americans, other people of color, and the poor, the American Library Association (ALA) has just issued a poster that honors Jackie Robinson.

The ALA created the poster as part of its History Lives collection that honors Americans who have made unique contributions to society. Civil rights figure Rosa Parks was the subject of a poster issued in 2000. The Jackie Robinson poster and accompanying bookmark feature a photograph of Robinson teaching a young boy to swing a baseball bat. It also includes the following Jackie Robinson quote: "Life is not a spectator sport. If you're going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion, you're wasting your life."

The ALA recently teamed up with Major League Baseball to promote libraries and 21st century literacy as part of @ your library, the Campaign for America's Libraries. The Campaign for America's Libraries educates the public about the value of libraries and librarians in the 21st century. The partnership and 21st century literacy program launch May 14 in Los Angeles.

Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers as a 28-year-old rookie in 1947. He was the first African-American to integrate the major leagues and for two years agreed not to lash back at those who harassed him. "I got a lot and I gave a lot," he said about his experiences in Major League baseball. Robinson endured vicious abuse from members of opposing teams - bean balls, spikings and racial epithets.

Despite the odds, Robinson went on to a Hall of Fame career, was named the National League's Most Valuable Player in 1949, and played a key role as a member of the 1956 World Series champions. During his career, the Brooklyn Dodgers won six pennants and one World Series. In his life after baseball, Robinson was an activist for human rights as well as a successful businessman. In 1997, Robinson was the first player to have his uniform number retired throughout all of baseball. The nationally televised ceremony was held before 54,000 fans at Shea Stadium. The ceremony commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of Robinson's first game in the Major Leagues. The native of Cairo, Ga., died in 1973.

Rachel Robinson, Jackie Robinson's wife, has said: "The greatest tribute we can pay to Jackie Robinson is to gain new support for a more equitable society…" Sharon Robinson, Jackie's daughter, is the vice president, Educational Programming, Major League Baseball, where she directs a program for youngsters entitled, Breaking Barriers: In sports; In life. She also is the author of "Jackie's Nine: Jackie Robinson's Values to Live By." Sharon Robinson has spearheaded the partnership between Major League Baseball and the American Library Association.

ALA President John W. Berry commented: "ALA's partnership with Major League Baseball and our relationship with the Robinson family touches all of us in the library community. Jackie Robinson's lifelong commitment to learning and opportunity for all reinforces what libraries stand for."

To order the Jackie Robinson History Lives poster and/or bookmark, call 1-866-Shop ALA or visit the ALA Online Store at The 18" x 24" poster costs $10 each and the 2"x 6" 100 per pack bookmarks are priced at $7.

The ALA is the voice of America's libraries and the millions of people who depend on them. Its 64,000 members are primarily librarians, but also trustees, publishers and others who support the work of the association. The mission of ALA is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

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