192 Pages

Jackie's 9



This inspiring collection pays tribute to baseball legend and civil rights hero Jackie Robinson. Jackie¹s daughter, Sharon, acts as a personal tour guide through the nine heartfelt, hard-won values that helped her father achieve his goals. Jackie¹s values are brought to life through the powerful words of other heroes and pioneers, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Oprah Winfrey, and Christopher Reeve.



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Published 25 February 2014
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EAN13 9780545668613
License: All rights reserved
Language English

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To my parents, Rachel and Jack, who taught me throu gh their actions to love deeply, give generously, and stay in the struggle. — S.R.
In the Shadow of Your Wings
The Meeting by Jules Tygiel
She Walked Alone by Daisy Bates
The Capping Ceremony
Breaking the Color Barrier by Jackie Robinson
Still Me by Christopher Reeve
Breaking Barriers
The Colonel from “Old Kaintuck” by Carl Rowan
Together Now! PUSH! by David Robinson
Getting Beyond Average
Wait ’Til Next Year by Jackie Robinson
The Great One by Bruce Markusen
Love and War
The Lion at Dusk by Roger Kahn
Old Men by the Fire
by David Remnick
Jazz and Activism
From The Hall of Fame to Birmingham by Jackie Robinson
Parents As Mentors by Marian Wright Edelman
Turned My Wailing Into Dancing
I Never Had It Made by Jackie Robinson
A Testament of Hope by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
A Father’s Love
Jackie’s Prison by Jackie Robinson
Making It Home by Rachel Robinson
A Grand Tribute
Michael Jordan by Bob Greene
Oprah Winfrey as told to Brian Lanker
Jackie’s Nine
A Temple of God by Reverend Jesse L. Jackson
I WAS SIX WHEN MY DAD RETIREDfrom Major League Baseball and twelve when he was elected into baseball’s Hall of Fame. I was sixteen the first time my boyfriend hit me; eighteen when my brother Jackie was arreste d for drug possession; and twenty when I took control of my life. When I was twenty-one, Jackie was killed in a car accident; my dad had a massive heart attack and died when I was twenty-two. I’m no stranger to obstacles. At eighteen, I was terrified of failure and measure d success based on the model set by my celebrity parents. By twenty-three, I’d b egun to measure success on my own terms. Since then, I’ve earned degrees at Howard and Columbia Universities, raised a wonderful son, published three books, and as a nurse–midwife, delivered close to 700 babies. At age forty-seven, I retired from midwifery and jo ined the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball as Director of Educational Programming. I launched Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life. This educational program uses baseball-themed activities as teaching tools and brings baseball pl ayers into classrooms across the country, where they talk about how they overcome ob stacles on and off the field. Breaking Barriersis based on the nine values that I associate with my father’s life. Why nine, you might ask? Well, it’s really qu ite simple. Within baseball, the number nine is a common denominator. There are nine innings, nine player positions, and the base path is ninety feet between each base. Therefore it was appropriate that there be nine values celebrated in bothBreaking Barriersand in this book. Which leads me into why I wroteJackie’s Nine. Well, part of it was that I wanted to build on the success of theBreaking Barriersprogram. I wanted to continue spreading the program’s message about the importanc e and universality of my father’s values. I also was motivated by a conversa tion I once had with Jesse Jackson. In 1987, my son, Jesse, and I spent Thanksgiving wi th the Reverend Jackson and his family at their home in Chicago. After dinn er, a few of us sat in the living room talking. Our conversation led to a discussion about my father. We talked about why some athletes’ fame lives on and others’ fades with time. The reason, Reverend Jackson explained, lay in the difference between a champion and a hero. A champion, he said, wins a World Series or an Olympi c event and is hoisted on the shoulders of teammates and fans. A hero carries the people on his shoulders. Champions live for the moment — heroes, like Jackie Robinson, transcend time. To help bring life to my father’s legacy, each chap ter inJackie’s Ninecelebrates one of his values and includes a scene from my life and one from my dad’s to help illustrate the principle. I’ve also chosen a selection in each chapter about the life of one of my heroes. This gave me an opportunity to pa y tribute to courageous men and women who have touched me personally, though I found it very difficult to limit my choice to one individual per chapter. Inspired by the high expectations and stellar examp les of my heroes (and
sheroes), I strive for excellence as an educator, writer, and parent. Their courage makes me feel hopeful and gives me the strength to look for the new possibilities in life’s challenges. Whether you’re playing a game of baseball or roundi ng the bases of life, we all need some structure to successfully make the journe y. The principles inJackie’s Nine, beginning with courage and building toward excell ence, provide a foundation. In between these two are chapters about the other v alues my dad lived by: determination, teamwork, persistence, integrity, ci tizenship, justice, and commitment bringing our total back to nine. I hope you’ll be inspired by the stories you read i n this book — and that they’ll help you dare to imagine your own future! Sharon Robinson
ONE OF THE MOST HISTORIC MOMENTSin the twentieth century took place five years before I was born. On August 28, 1945, Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey shook hands in an office at 215 Montague Street in Brooklyn and nothing in the world was ever quite the same again. It would be eleven years later, as my father’s base ball career was coming to a close, before I would even begin to understand what happened that day. And it was not a particularly pleasant experience for me. I was six. Mom dropped Jackie and me off at our sum mer day camps in the suburbs of Connecticut. It was raining, so I ran in side the craft shop to find out my group’s assignment for the day. The assembled campers looked like a sea of white fa ces. Being the only black girl in a group of eighty campers brought the usual pang of insecurity. The fact that we were all dressed in the same uniform, white cotton short-sleeved shirts with the Camp Hilltop/Camp Holloway emblem on the right pock et, and navy blue shorts similarly embossed, did not make up for the feeling that I was different. But I brightened when I recognized a few friends. I ran to join my group. The room was particularly noisy, full of children, prisoners to the wet weather. The camp directors came to the front of the room, e ach wearing a red, short-sleeved knit shirt and khaki trousers. After quieting us, they announced that we would rotate between one of four activities: arts a nd crafts, movies, games, and lunch. My group was selected for the first showing of films. As the other campers scattered to their assigned ac tivities, a moan went up from some of the kids in my group who recalled the last film festival we’d sat through:The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, and the originalCinderella. We were instructed to sit on the picnic benches tha t had been brought in from the outside while two counselors set up the portable movie screen in the front of the room and two others adjusted the 16mm film on the p rojector. As we settled down, the lights were flicked off and the movie began to roll. The title of the first film couldn’t have shocked m e more. It wasThe Jackie Robinson Storyened wide, my, starring Jackie Robinson and Ruby Dee. My eyes op heart beat faster, and I had to catch my breath as I tried not to gasp. The girl with whom I shared the bench poked me in the ribs.