In 1947 Jackie Robinson (1919-1972) made history when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers and became the first African-American to play Major League Baseball in the modern era.
Opening on January 31—Robinson’s 100th birthday—In the Dugout with Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait of a Baseball Legend will feature 32 photographs (most of them never published), originally shot for Look magazine; rare home movies of the Robinson family; and memorabilia related to Robinson’s career.
The exhibition is presented in collaboration with the Jackie Robinson Foundation and launches the Foundation’s yearlong, national Jackie Robinson Centennial Celebration, which culminates in the opening of the Jackie Robinson Museum in New York City in December 2019. “We are honored to partner with the Jackie Robinson Museum in celebrating the legacy of a true American icon,” said Whitney Donhauser, Ronay Menschel Director and President of the Museum of the City of New York. “Robinson’s trailblazing years as a Brooklyn Dodger captivated the country and these photographs offer an intimate glimpse of a defining period in American sports history.”
Della Britton, president and CEO of the Jackie Robinson Foundation remarked, “We are thrilled to begin our year-long celebration with this showcase of photographic treasures that depict Jackie Robinson’s life and career in New York. And the beautiful Museum of the City of New York is a fitting venue, as it was in this city that our namesake paved a way for a more inclusive America.” Robinson spent only one season with the Negro Leagues’ Kansas City Monarchs before he was recruited by Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey. Looking to turn the tide of the much-maligned team, Rickey chose Robinson not only for his talent, but for his demeanor and courage. From the moment Robinson stepped onto Ebbets Field on April 15, 1947, he endured jeers and even physical threats from fellow players, ticket buyers, and a segregated American public.
Despite adversity, Robinson ended his first season as the winner of Major League Baseball’s inaugural “Rookie of the Year” award. He was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player two years later and went on to win six pennants in his 10 seasons with the Dodgers. Following his retirement in 1957, Robinson continued to break barriers as a vice president of Chock full o’Nuts, becoming the first African American officer of a major national corporation. He remained dedicated to civil rights and the advancement of African Americans in industry and commerce, serving on the board of the NAACP and co-founding the Freedom National Bank in Harlem, which became one of the largest black-owned banks in the country.The exhibition features photographs taken on assignment by Look staff photographers Kenneth Eide and Frank Bauman. Robinson was a frequent face in Look, where he contributed three autobiographical essays (including 1955’s “Now I Know Why They Boo Me!”) and announced his retirement.
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