Celebrating Black History Month and Local Hero #42 Jackie Robinson

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Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams Hosts Jackie Robinson Essay Contest
The first two months of the new year have special significance – in January we recognize the 100th birthday of a local hero, Jackie Roosevelt Robinson, and in February we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Black History Month.

On April 15, 1947 Jackie Robinson became the first black athlete to play Major League Baseball (MLB) in the modern era, playing first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field in the Flatbush neighborhood of New York. From pioneering integration of professional athletics in America to playing a critical role in the Civil Rights movement, Robinson helped change the landscape of race relations in the United States. But his influence goes beyond the baseball field. Robinson was also the first black television analyst in MLB and the first black vice president of a major American corporation, Chock full o'Nuts. In addition, in the 1960s, he helped establish the Freedom National Bank, an African American-owned financial institution based in Harlem, New York. Robinson passed away in 1972 at the age of 53, but his memory continues to be celebrated.

On January 31, 2019, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, together with Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, kicked off Black History Month with a tribute to Jackie Robinson. At a celebration at Brooklyn Borough Hall, a proclamation and posthumous "Key to Brooklyn" were presented to the family of Jackie Robinson (accepted by his granddaughter Sonya Pankey) on what would have been the 100th birthday of the hall of famer. In addition, the winners of an essay contest acknowledging the character and achievements of Jackie Robinson were recognized. The essay contest was held at three local schools named after the famous baseball player and civil rights leader. The schools involved in the essay contest were M.S. 352 - Brooklyn, P.S. 375 – Brooklyn, and P.S. 15 - Queens.   

Judges for the essay contest included community leaders, educators, a Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice, an attorney, and Gina Argento, President and CEO of Broadway Stages. As a company with local roots, Broadway Stages is committed to giving back and welcomed the opportunity to join in the celebration and serve as a judge for the essay contest. Gina applauds the efforts of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo for kicking off Black History Month with this ceremonial event. "Celebrating culture, and accomplishments, helps build awareness, and reminds us all of the value that our diverse experiences and talents bring to our world," Gina said. Broadway Stages congratulates all the students who participated in the essay contest and recognizes the winners on a job well done.

M.S. 352, Ebbets Field Middle P.S. 375, Jackie Robinson Primary          P.S. 15, Jackie Robinson Primary
1st  – Merlik Alleyne 1st – Kamryn Bennett                      1st – Anaelle Pierre Charles
2nd – Ragiyata Bah   2nd – Victoria Rolon             2nd – Madison St. Claire
3rd – Brianna Pettiford     3rd – N/A             3rd – Jasmine Jackson

For information about the Jackie Robinson Foundation, click here. To view the award ceremony at Brooklyn Borough Hall, click here