Posted 20 Apr 2016
The Arkansas Educational Television Network and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Arkansas will host Jackie Robinson Day, a free public event, Sunday, April 24, from 1-4 p.m. at the newly renovated Lamar Porter Field, 3200 West 7th Street, Little Rock.
The event will kick off a new season for the Little Rock Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities (RBI) Program – a recreational/developmental summer baseball program for boys ages 13-18 – and include the program's first practice day.
Donations of new and used sporting equipment, especially baseball equipment, for all age groups will be accepted to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Arkansas and participants in the Jackie Robinson Breaking Barriers RBI Program. Scholarship opportunities will be available for children interested in joining the RBI Program. Anyone interested in registering for the RBI Program may do so at Lamar Porter Field or littlerockrbi.com.
The event is presented in conjunction with the latest Ken Burns documentary 'Jackie Robinson.'
Born in 1919 to tenant farmers in rural Georgia and raised in Pasadena, California, Robinson challenged institutional racism long before he integrated Major League Baseball. As a teenager, he demanded service at a Woolworth's lunch counter and refused to sit in the segregated balcony at a local movie theater. In 1944, while serving as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, Robinson was arrested after he defied an order from a civilian bus driver to move to the back of a military bus. He was found not guilty.
In the spring of 1947, Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey signed Robinson to a major league contract. To help ensure the success of their endeavor, and protect the big league prospects of future black players, Robinson agreed to ignore the threats and abuse that Rickey assured him he would face. That season, Robinson kept his word, remaining silent while he dazzled fans with his brilliant play and helped lead the Dodgers to the National League pennant. By the end of the year, he was the most famous black man in the country and, in one poll, finished second only to Bing Crosby as the most popular American.
After baseball, Robinson continued to use his immense fame to elevate the civil rights movement, voicing his views through a widely read newspaper column, raising money for the NAACP and Martin Luther King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and campaigning vigorously for candidates he believed would work to improve the lives of African-Americans.
The Arkansas Educational Television Network is Arkansas's statewide public television network that enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. Additional information is available at aetn.org. AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), and KETZ (El Dorado).