KAMPALA. Jackie Roosevelt Robinson became the African American to play in Major League Baseball when the Brooklyn Dodgers fielded him on April 15, 1947.
By doing that, he broke the colour barrier and opened the door for many others. His Impact was monumental that his debut day is commemorated every year in the MLS. He preached civil rights and equality, the kind of message kids in Uganda joining the game should front.
“Jackie paved a way from civil rights movements. He preached non-violence even when his life and family were threatened. We want the game to be taught along with the Jackie message that is for black or white, female or male and rich or poor,” said Public Affairs Officer US Mission Ron Hawkins while launching an upcoming baseball program at the American Centre yesterday.
After Robinson’s breakthrough, other sports soon followed. The color barrier also started to break in more than just sports, and there were more job opportunities, voting, positions in local government and eventually the federal government.
Robinson proved that what happened in baseball could happen everywhere.
Baseball has been in Uganda for close to 20 years but the game is yet to make a mark, something the Tartan Burners Athletics Club, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Allen VR Stanley Sports Academy want to fix in partnership with the US embassy.
The parties will hold a series of baseball clinics with secondary schools in Arua, Jinja, and Luwero to increase awareness of the principles of nonviolence, civic engagement, and teamwork that Robinson used to transform the face of sports in the United States.
42, a movie-based on Robinson’s life, will show at the centre with his son David Robinson expected on April 15.
David currently lives in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania where he works as coffee farmer.