There was growing anticipation today of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, and the address President Obama delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial—the same place where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his legendary “I Have a Dream Speech.”
It also happens to be on the fifth anniversary of Obama’s speech to accept the Democratic nomination for president, at the party convention in Denver – a historic convergence that was widely noted at the time.
However, one other moment that thrust the fight for equality forward shared that date as well: The first meeting between Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey took place in Brooklyn on Aug. 28, 1945.
That’s the meeting in which Rickey, president of the Dodgers, told Robinson, the Army veteran, football All-American and Negro League shortstop, “I’m looking for a ballplayer with guts enough not to fight back.”
Sharon Robinson, Jackie’s daughter, told the Baltimore Sun in 2008: “I was surprised and unaware, but was delighted by the wonderful coincidences.”
The scene has been depicted in books, plays, documentaries and movies, including last spring’s “42.”
The video above shows what Robinson’s widow, Rachel, said in 2010 about that meeting. It was produced in 2010 for the National Visionary Leadership Project, conducted by the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center (visionaryproject.org):