Honoring the legacy of Jackie Robinson

By Ellen Cooke

On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson made history by breaking the color barrier during his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Seventy years later, the Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) is commemorating the occasion with a pop-up exhibit at our MetroTech facility in Brooklyn and a special year-long exhibition we’re sponsoring – a stone’s throw from where Jackie made history as a Brooklyn Dodger. “Until Everyone Has it Made: Jackie Robinson’s Legacy” will run through June 2018 at the Brooklyn Historical Society and feature programs, memorabilia, photography and more.

“Jackie Robinson’s commitment to Brooklyn – and his perseverance and courage – paved a way into the history of baseball and the civil rights movement,” said Ken Daly, President NY Jurisdiction. “On a personal note, Jackie Robinson was a hero to my Dad, who has special memories of being a Dodgers fan as a child, and I am now privileged to share Jackie’s lessons with my own four children.”

Hundreds of people inside and outside the company joined us to celebrate the MetroTech exhibit’s opening on April 5. The exhibit includes images from various collections of Jackie’s life, career as a baseball legend and activist for equality, and will run through May 5. Along with Ken, our FERC Jurisdiction President Rudy Wynter and VP Customer and Community Management / event MC Melanie Littlejohn shared ‘Dad’ stories about how Jackie affected each of them. They also spoke about what Jackie Robinson’s historic career means to baseball and society in general.

Special guests included legendary baseball player Mookie Wilson, of the 1986 World’s Series-winning New York Mets, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who presented exhibit sponsors with a proclamation.

“When people see the Dodgers helmet, I think a chill goes down their spine,” said Brooklyn Historical Society’s Marcia Ely about the nearby exhibit at BHS. “When people look at the ball, it shows autographs of each of the players. It makes history come to life.”

The exhibits are part of a collaborative celebration with National Grid, BHS and St. Francis College. Earlier that day, the College hosted a lunchtime lecture with a sports historian on Robinson’s contribution to American history. Freshmen also produced a brochure about this moment in history and how it relates to the art of protest. 

“In honoring the legacy of Jackie Robinson, we are thrilled to partner with some of Brooklyn’s finest institutions,” said BHS President Deborah Schwartz. “By engaging students of all ages in this celebration, we are able to impart the importance of Robinson’s role in shaping American history to a new generation.”

Visit http://brooklynhistory.org/ to learn more about the Robinson event.

And see Melanie Littlejohn’s NY1 News interview

Joining the Grand Street Campus H.S. ‘Wolves’ baseball team are (‘non-uniformed,’ l-r) National Grid’s Carol Decina, Mookie Wilson, Wolves Assistant Coach and Commissioner of the Williamsburg Sports League Tommy Torres, and Melanie Littlejohn

Pictured (l-r): Melanie Littlejohn, BHS Trustee Reverend Dr. Valerie Oliver-Durrah, Ken Daly, Mookie Wilson, Eric Adams, Deborah Schwartz and Rudy Wynter



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