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Smokey Robinson – A Black American

The great Smokey Robinson on Def Poetry Jam.

A friend of mine sent this video to me.  You never know about my friends.  It can be anything from a dirty joke, to a chain letter to something truly thoughtful and inspirational.  Smokey Robinson has to be in his late 70’s?  He looks good.  His mind and tongue are sharp.

It seems that every couple of years we have to re-name ourselves.  Black, Negro, African-American.  Smokey is basically talking about stopping the madness.  This is clearly worth a look see.

By |2008-03-11T17:46:44-04:00March 11th, 2008|Race|Comments Off on Smokey Robinson – A Black American

Standing in the Shadows — Mack Robinson

Standing in the Shadows

Errington and I went to college together and he’s been like a brother to me ever since. So I have license to say that he’s always had stars in his eyes and that he has aspired to political prominence for years. I’ve secretly envied that quality because I have always been most comfortable in a supporting role near the top, and I’ve found those types of people to be fascinating.  After being inspired by Errington’s recent series, I am starting an occassional one of my own called Standing in the Shadows, named after the movie about the Motown band “The Funk Brothers” (subject of a future post).

Matthew “Mack” Robinson

Mack Robinson was 0.4 seconds and a bit of genetic luck from being a household name.  Born in Cairo, Georgia, he and his siblings were transplanted to Pasadena, California by their single mother, where they encountered the Southern-style prejudice which was so common in the 1920s and 30s.  However, Mack’s athletic prowess earned him a scholarship to the University of Oregon, and he qualified for the 1936 Olympic team.  In front of Hitler in Berlin, wearing a set of well-worn track spikes, he finished second by a step, officially 0.4 seconds, to Jesse Owens.

Like Jesse, he found that his silver medal didn’t nullify his black skin when he returned to the United States.  He took a variety of odd jobs, including helping to build the Rose Bowl Stadium where his brother Jackie later starred as an athlete at UCLA.  Jackie later broke the color barrier in major league baseball, the 60th anniversary of which was celebrated this year.

Mack never showed bitterness about being so close to achieving fame, instead saying, “I was lucky to be a part of what they did.” He and Jesse staged a series of youth athletic games through the years, and Mack’s passions became fighting street crime in Pasadena and having a monument to his brother built in the town where they grew up. In 1997, The Pasadena Robinson Memorial was erected across from city hall to honor the accomplishments of both Jackie and Mack.

I find one of his quotes particularly relevant today: “With all the intelligence in today’s world, I would like to see people sit down at a conference table and deal with one another as human beings.  Why can’t all countries respect each other instead of killing people and suppressing people? Maybe it is impossible because of greed. Among athletes, real animosities don’t exist. Athletes learn to win, and they learn to lose. Most important, they learn to congratulate each other.”

By |2007-08-07T02:04:00-04:00August 7th, 2007|Race, Sports|Comments Off on Standing in the Shadows — Mack Robinson

60 years ago – Jackie Robinson plays

What an important day!! I didn’t know this but the players on each team took a vote on whether or not they would strike. Each team was going to walk out! Listen to Keith’s report. Outstanding.

I heard an interview with Jackie Robinson’s daughter earlier this week. The peak of Black’s in the MLB was 1975 if I’m not mistaken. The percentage of Blacks has fallen almost every year since then. What’s the problem? There are very few baseball diamonds in the inner city. MLB is doing very little to fix the problem. Almost every boy will get some type of baseball when he is young. By the time that he is 10 or 11 he converts to football or basketball.

MLB needs to take a proactive role if they really care about Blacks playing the sport. The NFL has leagues. Where are the baseball leagues? Not softball. Has MLB partnered with cities to create open spaces where organized baseball can be played?

By |2007-04-15T12:45:35-04:00April 15th, 2007|Countdown, Race, Sports|Comments Off on 60 years ago – Jackie Robinson plays
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