After 14 years of closure, Jackie Robinson Museum opens finally

 Thursday, July 28, 2022 


The opening of the Jackie Robinson Museum in Manhattan on Tuesday is a long-cherished dream coming true for its patrons. It has also been in development for longer than the big league career of the man who is deeply revered and admired by his followers.

The opening ceremony started with a bang and was attended by the widow of the barrier-breaking player and his two children.

Sitting on a wheelchair, Rachel Robinson watched the outdoor celebration for half an hour in the scorching 80 degrees heat. He also cut a ribbon to inaugurate the project launched in 2008.

Sharon, her 72-year old daughter and David, her 70-year-old son were the spectators of this event. About 200 audiences were sitting on folding chairs that were arranged at Varick Street, a major pathway.

It is on this street that the 19,380 sq ft museum is located. It is scheduled to open for the public on September 5.

Robinson, died in the year 1972. He had an impact beyond baseball. He aimed at galvanizing a significant slice of American public opinion and boosting the civil rights movement.

On the 61st anniversary of Jackie Robinson, Rachel Robinson announced the museum on April 15, 2008. It broke the barrier of the big league colour barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field.

New York City Mayor, Eric Adams said that nowhere on the globe dream is anyhow attached to their name or even their country’s name.

There is neither a German dream, nor a Polish dream, American dream- there’s only an American dream. He also said that they are greater because of No. 42 and also as he had a beautiful wife who understood that dream and vision.

A gala dinner was held Monday night to preview the museum, which contains 4,500 artifacts, including playing equipment and items such as Robinson’s 1946 minor league contract for $600 a month and his 1947 rookie contract for a $5,000 salary.

The museum also holds a collection of 40,000 images and 450 hours of footage.

A 15-piece band played at the ceremony, attended by former pitcher CC Sabathia, former NL president Len Coleman and former Mets owner Fred Wilpon, along with players’ association head Tony Clark and Hall of Fame president Josh Rawitch.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, Director Spike Lee (wearing a Brooklyn Dodgers cap) and former tennis star Billie Jean King also were on hand.

King said that it seems like they are more divided than ever. People like Jackie Robinson was a great reminder every single morning, every single evening that we have to do the right thing every day.

Original projections had a 2010 opening and $25 million cost. The Great Recession caused a delay.

Ground finally was broken on April 27, 2017, when the Jackie Robinson Foundation said it had raised $23.5 million of a planned $42 million and the museum was intended to open in 2019. The pandemic caused more delays, and the total raised has risen to $38 million, of which $2.6 million was contributed by New York City.

Tickets will cost $18 for adults and $15 for students, seniors and children. The second floor includes an education center, part of a plan envisioned by Rachel Robinson.

Foundation president Della Britton said that she wanted a fixed tribute to her husband, where people could come and learn about him, but also be inspired. Della headed the project.

They want to be that place, as young people now say, a safe space, where people will talk about race and not worry about the initial backlash that happens when you say something on social media.

David Robinson said his father would have been proud. He used the word ‘we’. He presumes that Jackie Robinson would have accepted this honour.

But, he accepted the honour far beyond everything- his individual self, family and even his race. Jackie thinks of himself standing on the shoulders of his mother who was a sharecropper in Georgia, his grandmother who was born a slave.

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