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Jackie and Mack Robinson Bronze Memorial Heads

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art (State Historical Landmark)

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Jackie Robinson and his brother, Mack Robinson, were memorialized in bronze statues located in Pasadena, California. Jackie Robinson is a national baseball hero while his brother was an Olympic great. "Jackie looks toward the east, past City Hall, where he made is mark breaking the color barrier in professional baseball and became a successful businessman". (Pasadena Robinson Memorial, 1997).

A famous snapshot of Jackie Robinson at bat playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Mack Robinson running the 200m.
Mack Robinson prepares to run in the 1936 Berlin games against track star Jesse Owens.
Jackie Robinson alongside Martin Luther King Jr,
Bronze head statues commemorating the legendary Jackie Robinson and his brother, "Mack" Robinson.

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Jackie Robinson, baseball hall of famer, number 42, is one of the greatest baseball legends. He is known for breaking the color barrier when he signed as the first black athlete to play major league baseball in 1946. He signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and even helped them win the world series in 1955. He was an exceptional base runner, and had an electrifying style of play. Did you know that in 1941 he was the first athlete at UCLA to letter in four sports (football, track, baseball, basketball) at the same time? But before his major league career took off, Jackie was inducted into the U.S. Army, where he earned a promotion as the 2nd lieutenant in 1943. On July 6, 1944, Jackie refused to move to the back of the military bus, and received an honorable discharge from the military by the end of November. 

 Him and his wife, Rachel Robinson, were both actively involved in civil rights movements throughout his career, proving he was legendary as an athlete and as an activist. "Robinson stood up for equal rights even before he did so in baseball. He was arrested and court-martialed during training in the Army for refusing to move to the back of a segregated bus. He was eventually acquitted of the charges and received an honorable discharge" (baseballhall.org). His involvement in civil rights movements helped to break the segregation exhibited by sports teams. In January of 1957, Jackie decided to retire. After retirement, Jackie helped establish the first African-American owned and controlled Freedom Bank. 

Mack Robinson, Jackie's older brother, was a silver medalist in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Mack wasn't particularly viewed as athlete material, and while living in Pasadena, California, he couldn't find his way to the New York trials before the games. A Pasadena businessman paid his way, and another athlete, to New York. Although becoming second place at the Olympics is something to be extremely proud of, Mack felt some sorrow in his inability to receive the training the other athletes did. "In 1937, he set a national junior-college record of 25 feet 5 1/2 inches in the long jump (later broken by his brother Jackie) and he won national collegiate and Amateur Athletic Union track titles at the University of Oregon in 1938" (Litsky, 2000). Mack never received praise for his accomplishment, and Jackie later broke his brother’s long jump record, and may have had his sights set on his own Olympic glory before the 1940 games were cancelled because of World War II. (Andrews, 2014)

The Robinson brothers were pioneer athletes of the 20th century. Through hard times of racial segregation, the Robinson's displayed power through their competitiveness and involvement in their communities.  The Memorial of the brothers, located in Pasadena, pays tribute to them as bronze head statues. There is also meaning behind the direction to which the heads face: Jackie looks towards Brooklyn, NY, to symbolize the destiny waiting for him 2,800 miles to the east, while Mack faces towards City Hall, reflecting his complicated relationship with his home town (Atlas Obscura, 2012).




Sources

Jackie Robinson. Biography.com. August 14, 2017. Accessed September 21, 2017. https://www.biography.com/people/jackie-robinson-9460813.

Litsky, Frank. Mack Robinson, 85, Second to Owens in Berlin. NY Times. March 14, 2000. Accessed September 21, 2017. http://www.nytimes.com/2000/03/14/sports/mack-robinson-85-second-to-owens-in-berlin.html?mcubz=1.

Ugc. “Jackie and Mack Robinson Memorial.” Atlas Obscura, Atlas Obscura, 19 Aug. 2012, www.atlasobscura.com/places/jackie-and-mack-robinson-memorial.



Andrews, Evan. 11 things you may not know about Jackie Robinson. History.com. January 31, 2014. Accessed October 02, 2017. http://www.history.com/news/11-things-you-may-not-know-about-jackie-robinson.


Address
99 N Garfield Ave
Pasadena, CA 91101
Hours
Open 24 hours
Tags
  • African American History
  • Architecture and Historical Buildings
  • Sports History
This location was created on 2017-09-21 by Alison Lawhead .   It was last updated on 2017-10-07 by Alison Lawhead .

This entry has been viewed 592 times within the past year

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