Jackie Robinson Recreation Center
This New York recreation center dates back to a Harlem playground that was established in 1911 and known as Colonial Park. The playground expanded significantly in the 1930s thanks to funding from the Works Progress Administration and this park was one of ten New York parks selected by the city for a public pool. The pool opened in 1936 and the park includes basketball and volleyball courts as well as two baseball diamonds and a gym, library, and community room. In 1978, the city renamed the center in honor of Jackie Robinson, the city's most famous athlete. A bust of Robinson was dedicated on November 10, 1981. The bust was created by artist Inge Hardison and dedicated by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs' Community Arts.
Backstory and Context
Jackie Robinson was not the first African American to play in the majors, but he was the first acknowledged person of color to play in the modern era. Robinson was a young and rising star for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues when Brooklyn Dodgers general manager selected him as the first black player on his roster. Robinson played in the minors before making his first appearance for the Brooklyn Dodgers and his success opened the way for other African Americans. Robinson led his team to multiple World Series before retiring with a lifetime batting average of.311.