Although it is known as the city of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia wasn’t considered so friendly to legendary Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson.
After 69 years, the city wants to make amends for the harsh treatment and racial cruelty the Major League Baseball second-baseman received from fans and teammates.
Robinson became the first African-American to play in the major leagues in the modern area. He broke the baseball color line when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers as a first-baseman on April 15, 1947. Though it is not certain whether most professional baseball in the North was integrated between the end of the Civil War and 1890, quite a few African-Americans played alongside white athletes on minor league and major league teams during that period.
While the original National Association of Baseball Players formed in 1867, Black athletes were banned. By the late 1870s, several African-American players were active on the rosters of white minor league teams, according to Negro League Baseball.
Robinson endured hostile crowds in ballparks and circulating petitions among the other players to have him removed from the team’s roster.
On Thursday, the Philadelphia City Council passed a resolution officially apologizing to Robinson for the countless racism he confronted. The resolution stated,“ City Council hereby recognize, honor and celebrate April 15, 2016 as a day honoring the lifetime achievements and lasting influence of Jackie Robinson, and apologizing for the racism he faced as a player while visiting Philadelphia,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Councilwoman Helen Gym, who introduced the resolution, said in an Inquirer article, acknowledging a “great man, sometimes can start with an apology.” The gesture will be presented to Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson.
These days, April 15, is acknowledged as the day Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, as well as an annual tradition in MLB. On “Jackie Robinson Day,” players in the league wear No. 42 in his honor.