The museum officially opens this September!
Just one week after turning 100 years old, Jackie Robinson’s widow cut the ribbon for her late husband’s museum, ESPN reports.
Jackie Robinson was a pioneering force in baseball. Throughout his 10-year career in MLB, he made history time and time again as the first Black person in the league. He became the NL Rookie of the Year, the 1949 NL batting champion and MVP, a seven-time All-Star and he played in six World Series, leading the Brooklyn Dodgers to their 1955 World Series championship. In 1962 Robinson was elected to the Hall of Fame, passing away just a decade later. But his legacy continued to live on and the MLB icon has received numerous awards and honors over the years.
On April 15, 2008, the 61st anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the MLB color barrier, his widow Rachel Robinson announced that the Jackie Robinson Foundation would be opening a museum in his honor. For 14 years, the museum has been underway, delayed by a number of things including the ongoing global pandemic. This week the Jackie Robinson Museum finally opened and just one week after her 100th birthday on July 19th, Mrs. Rachel Robinson was right there to cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony.
Exactly one week after she turned 100, Rachel Robinson — with help from son David — cut the ribbon during the ceremonial opening of her late husband’s museum in Manhattan. The Jackie Robinson Museum is finally open. pic.twitter.com/52NVdf3Hkr— Coley Harvey (@ColeyHarvey) July 26, 2022
The beloved widow and former Yale professor attended the outdoor celebration in 80-degree heat, joined by her 72-year-old daughter Sharon and 70-year-old son David. David assisted his mother during the ribbon-cutting, speaking to the crowd of 200 about the importance of his father’s legacy and how proud he would be if he were alive to see the museum’s opening.
“The issues in baseball, the issues that Jackie Robinson challenged in 1947, they’re still with us. The signs of white only have been taken down, but the complexity of equal opportunity still exists… [My dad] was a man who used the word ‘we.’ I think today Jackie Robinson would say I accept this honor, but I accept this honor on behalf of something far beyond my individual self, far beyond my family, far beyond even my race. Jackie Robinson would say don’t think of you standing on my shoulders, I think of myself as standing on the shoulders of my mother, who was a sharecropper in Georgia, my grandmother, who was born a slave,” said David.
The opening was kicked off with a gala dinner and preview of the museum, attended by a host of celebrities including former pitcher CC Sabathia, former NL president Len Coleman, former Mets owner Fred Wilpon, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, tennis star Billie Jean King, and director Spike Lee. The museum contains 4,500 artifacts including Robinson’s playing equipment, his 1946 minor league contract for $600 a month, and his 1947 rookie contract for a $5000 salary. There are a total of 40,000 images in the museum and 450 hours of footage as well as an education center planned by Rachel Robinson on the second floor.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams was on hand to speak about the significance of the full manifestation of Mr. & Mrs. Robinson’s dream.
“There’s nowhere on the globe where dream is attached to our name -- or our country’s name. There’s not a German dream. There’s not a French dream. There’s not a Polish dream. Darn it, there’s an American dream. And this man and wife took that dream and forced America and baseball to say you’re not going to be a dream on a piece of paper, you’re going to be a dream in life. We are greater because of No. 42 and because he had [an] amazing wife that understood that dream and vision,” said Mayor Adams.
The Jackie Robinson Museum will open to the public on September 5th. Tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for students, seniors, and children.
Photo Courtesy of Julia Nikhinson/Associated Press/Coley Harvey/Twitter