Social microcosm is an interpersonal process-oriented approach to group work. It refers to the study of interpersonal relationship of group members with each other and their group Therapist as well as the operation of a group therapy. This approach transpires within the group hence remains the hub of the group and is done in the present. Therapy is an art and science that is subjective and non-negotiable experience in human beings. Corrective emotional experience examines the unique therapeutic importance of group psychotherapy. Therapeutic change is a complex processes which happens through a complicated interchange of human experiences referred to as therapeutic factors which are collectively called curative factors or mechanisms of change (Yalom, 2005, p.18).
Look more: social microcosm
Yolam’s curative factors include; instillation of hope, universality, imparting information, altruism, the corrective recapitulation of the primary family group, development of socializing techniques, imitative behavior, interpersonal learning, group cohesiveness, catharsis, and existential factors. Each of these factors has a specific purpose and impact a certain psychological change. They are useful to group therapy facilitators for better understanding of the group therapy process. Group therapists are responsible for creating good and contusive environment for effective interaction of group members unlike individual therapists who are less facilitative because they feed their clients with support, feedback and interpretations.
Instillation of hope to group members is crucial as the clients will be optimistic that success, change and resolution are all possible in the group. Faith brings about therapeutic effectiveness in individual healing. A client who sees transformation among group members and believes by therapist in the therapy process gains faith with it. This should be communicated well in time to clients by conducting early group sessions emphasizing on positive expectations, counseling of pessimistic members.
Universality helps clients to understand that they are not alone in their hurting, misery or in their psychological problems. Knowing that you share the same problem with others creates sense of relief. The clients begin to share and appreciate each other creating trust, openness and healing amongst themselves. Therapists should help the clients develop universal group of experience by showing them their similarities in their issues and creating sense connection.
Imparting of knowledge or psycho educating clients includes giving of advice, suggestions or instructions to by group therapists. Didactic instruction or advice giving which is used to explain a process of illness, transfer information and change thought patterns by the facilitator is usually discouraged. Psycho education is much more preferred since it offers operational instruction or alternative suggestions on achieving an objective effectively. The therapist can impart the information by directly advising them on their illness and ineffective thought patterns or by sharing the effectiveness of the group therapy for their psychological transformation. Group’s members also can give advice to each other; although not beneficial in content it serves a purpose in that it shows caring and interest about one another (Vinogradov, Yalom, 1989, p.34).
Another Yalom’s therapeutic factor is altruism which means giving without expecting to receive. A client receiving from others feels that others do value and appreciate him; likewise the client giving out feels he or she has something important to give out. This promotes the clients morale and self esteem in return. Surpassing interpersonal interaction by providing support, reassurances, giving suggestions and sharing of problems creates a feeling of being part of a larger society than the one were before. Some clients become more real and show their plight becoming credible source of information and aspire others to support the group. They assist in exploring other client’s negative self evaluation and find mean of helping them in the group.
The Corrective Recapitulation of the Primary Family Group; Most psychotherapy clients have not got enough and satisfactory experience the primary stage which is the most important group. The group family setting can give clients chance to relieve early family conflicts and relationships are correctively that prevents growth. The therapy group resembles family dynamics with much aspect of family being seen such as authority or parental figures, peer siblings, strong emotions, deep intimacy, hostile and competitive feelings as well as deep personal revelations. Members tend to respond to other in the group as they reacted to their family members. Through the group therapy setting, members can work out their differences and unfinished business with their family members from childhood. Resurfacing old family issues will be raised and worked out with the help of therapist and other group members by helping the clients to try out new interpersonal behaviors (Nicholas, 1984, p.23)
Development of socializing techniques in group setting therapy setting provides a great chance for observation and development of social skills and operates in all therapy groups. Therapy groups provide clients with great opportunity to develop social skills on how to relate with others and receive direct feedback on their interpersonal skills. They also learn how to deal will their emotions, how to solve problems that affects them, be of great use and appreciate others not only within the group but also outside. Yolam says that the benefits of this therapeutic factor helps senior members to be responsive to others as they have skills in conflict resolution, are less likely to be judgmental and have much more capability of delivering accurate therapy. The group therapist helps clients by exhibiting social skills through modeling (Boyd, 2007, p.52).
Imitative Behavior; According to Yolam, clients in the group therapy will try to imitate the therapist and other members behavior in trying to find out those that fits them well. They will absorb the behaviors that suit them and disregard the ill-fitting ones. He emphasizes that group therapists influence the group socializing patterns by initiating certain behaviors that the group members imitate. The members can as well teach clients skills that are helpful to their lives
Another Yolam’s therapeutic factor is interpersonal learning. It entails the processes that are similar to individual therapy like insight, working through transference and the corrective emotional experience. Yalom says that interpersonal relationships are very important since they are developed for experiencing corrective emotional experiences hence the group becomes social microcosm of the members’ lives outside the group. Understanding the importance of interpersonal, the corrective emotional experience and the group as social microcosm helps very much in comprehending interpersonal skills. Human beings have always lived in groups that are intensively and persistently have relationships among members of the group. They are interdependent of each other in many ways for their survival. Members experience corrective emotional experience through expressing their emotions to the other group members (Boyd, 2007, p.46).
Group cohesiveness; this refers to the members feeling like they belong to somewhere, being appreciated by the other group members and valuing the group in which they are part of and being supported. Yalom stated that a strong cohesiveness is crucial for the other therapeutic factors to function well. He described cohesiveness as the necessary curative factor for effective therapy that promotes greater collective self esteem, hope and ones wellbeing.Yolam further agues that the experience of being in cohesive group enables clients to take part self-disclosure and personal exploration, an important step in effective therapy.
Group cohesion makes the members feel connected to one another, hence becomes more harder to influence others, more open ,willing to listen to others, more accepting, having greater sense security and relief themselves from tension in the group. Through cohesive groups members should be able to express and identify their weaknesses such as anger, hostility and conflict which inhibit the growth of the group. The conflicting members should device means of working together. The group therapist has the duty of helping the group identify and explore conflict through open expression of anger, noting their challenges during the early stages. The facilitator should also allow members to share their disappointment and anger without interfering. This is a healthy and positive way to avoid creating a group norm that discourages the open expression of intense feelings especially when faced with confrontation about your lack of care, concern or direction (Yalom, 2005, p.61).
Catharsis is an emotional experience that means expressing one deep emotional feelings and experiencing a discharge of repressing emotions. Although most theorists’ ague that it is not enough to promote psychological change, it allows release of repressed feelings by getting beyond the feelings and attempting to add meaning to the cathartic experience. The facilitator should enhance the process of expressing feelings and then reflecting back on the process. Catharsis allows clients in primary stage to understand and express their problems, which are relative to the client’s experience. Existential factors refer to the search for purpose and meaning in life. It is a psychological and philosophical theory which recognizes that; life is unfair and unjust at some times, there is no ultimate escape from pain and death, one must still face life alone regardless of how much he gets close to others, facing the basic issues of life and death helps one live more fully and honestly and not caught up in trivialities and that one must take ultimate responsibility for the way (s) he lives in spite of how much guidance and support one gets from others. Existential awareness is seen as the most therapeutic factor, since basic issues of human life; life, death and isolation are more important as we get old and closer to our personal deaths. Yalom’s Therapeutic factors in group therapy, therefore provides clients with varied means of easing change in their lives. Group therapy is an important alternative for people hustling with different psychological problems (Nicholas, 1984, p.76).
Boyd Mary (2007) Psychiatric Nursing: Contemporary Practice. London: Routledge, pp.46, 52
Nicholas Mary (1984) Change in the Context of Group Therapy. New York: Psychology Press, pp.23, 76
Vinogradov, Sophia & Yalom Irvin (1989). Concise Guide to Group Psychotherapy. New York: American Psychiatric Publishers, pp.34
Yalom, Irvin D. (2005). The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy (5th Ed.). New York: Basic Books, pp.18, 61
Jackie Robinson: A Life Of Impact
The life as well as the Major League Baseball career of Jackie Robinson during the Civil Rights Movement opened doors and had an impact for the future generations of African Americans to find equality in Major League Baseball organizations. When Robinson agreed to wear the number 42 jersey for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15th, 1947, he was the first man to break the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Not only was this an event that was eagerly awaited in baseball history, but also a significant event in the history of racial equality in the United States of America.
Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia to a sharecropper named Jerry Robinson and his wife Mallie. He was the youngest of five children. After moving to Florida as an infant, his father abandoned his family. His mother Mallie Robinson moved her family to Pasadena, California to an all white community. The Robinson family became victims of prejudice and discrimination almost immediately. Mallie Robinson was strong woman who refused to move, instead, she taught her children to be careful of their environment without losing their sense of dignity. From his mother, Jackie Robinson learned the meaning of his African American heritage at a young age, listening to family slave stories of how relatives were treated by their masters. She also taught him that when the slaves were given their freedom, many were afraid to live free because they knew no other way of life.
As a boy, Robinson belonged to “The Pepper Street Gang” which was a group of poor black, Japanese, and Mexican children. The object of the group was friendship; they played sports together and helped each other deal with being deprived of the advantages given to the white children of Pasadena. An example of one of these advantages was that white children could swim in the local municipal pool everyday, and black children could only use the pool on Tuesdays. When “The Pepper Street Gang” became resentful against the white children, Robinson’s mother made him quit. She said, “It didn’t take guts to be in a group; rather it took courage and intelligence to be willing to be different.”(Allen) Robinson began breaking barriers at a much younger age than most realize.
Robinson was a sports star at John Muir High School and Pasadena Junior College. Later Robinson enrolled at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where Robinson became the first four-sport letterman (baseball, football, basketball & track) in UCLA history (Encarta). After just two years Robinson decided to quit college because he felt that even with a degree he couldn’t succeed in a white man’s society.
The next major move that Robinson made was to join a professional football team in Hawaii called the Honolulu Bears for one season. Two days after the season ended, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and Robinson joined the United States Army in May of 1942. It did not take Robinson long to learn about the “Jim Crow Army” in which white soldiers had advantages that the black soldiers didn’t. One example of this discrimination is that qualified African Americans were not permitted to enter the Officer’s Candidate Program which in was located in Fort Riley in the 1940’s. Another example of discrimination that the white military personal were given the better equipment; and what was left went to the African-American personal. After joining the Army football team, Robinson experienced discrimination aimed directly at him, because of his color he was sent home on leave because the Army team was going to play the University of Missouri and they threatened to cancel the game because they didn’t want to play a team with a black person on it. He quit the team and transferred to Fort Hood, Texas.
It was in Fort Hood, Texas that Robinson became known for a famous racial incident. A bus driver ordered Robinson to move to the back of the military bus. Robinson refused because Army regulations barred racial discrimination on any vehicle operating on base. Robinson was arrested for insubordination, but later at a court-martial hearing was acquitted and given an honorable discharge from the Army.
Although Robinson may have had more potential in another sport, he knew the best chance for black athletes to earn a living was baseball. So, in 1945 Robinson began his professional career in the Negro Leagues with the Kansas City Monarchs. In 1946, Robinson signed to the minor league Montreal Royals. Robinson was accepted in Montreal, in fact he was a star, and after just one season was called up to the major leagues.
When the ballplayers from the Negro League heard Robinson was going to be signed by a Major League Baseball team some of them expressed concern because he was chosen even though he had less than a year of professional baseball experience with the Negro League. Others thought Robinson was chosen as a test case because he would fail, this would prove black players did not really belong in Major League Baseball. Still other Negro League players were happy and supported Robinson. Roy Campanella who had played baseball for 10 years was one such player, he said; “I think it was jealousy (Houston Chronicle).” Campanella felt Robinson had talent and deserved to play for the Dodgers.
Branch Rickey, the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers decided to challenge the league’s whites-only color barrier, he chose Jackie Robinson for this serious challenge, which Rickey knew would be met with fierce resistance from a great deal of players and fans alike. It was going to be an experiment, an experiment that Rickey and Robinson were going to take on together. On April 15th, 1947 at the age 27, Robinson became the first black player to compete in Major League Baseball during the 20th century.
One of the first acts of discrimination against Robinson after signing with the Dodgers was when he was on his way from New York to spring training in Daytona Beach, Florida. He had a layover in New Orleans before continuing to Daytona. During the layover Robinson was told that he had been bumped from the plane by white passengers. Robinson became upset but stayed in control as to not call attention to himself. The next scheduled plane did not leave until the next day, so he spent the night at a “colored” motel close by the airport. The next day Robinson was bumped again twice in Pensacola, Florida. Robinson ended up finishing the trip to Daytona by bus. Breaking the barrier was very difficult; Robinson was subjected to verbal abuse and racial slurs from both players and fans. Fans wore mops on their heads mocking Robinson, they also hollered for him to carry their bags and shine their shoes (Houston Chronicle).
A particularly abusive situation took place on April 22, 1947, Ben Chapman, the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies encouraged his team to call Robinson a “nigger” from their bench, telling him continually to “go back to the jungle”(Wikipedia). When the verbal abuse didn’t intimidate Robinson opposing teams threw pitches at his head, spit on him as he slid into the bases, and tried to injure him with the spikes on the baseball shoes. Eventually, Robinson received anonymous death threats that warned him not to continue to play or else.
Rickey, tried to downplay the breaking of the color barrier in an effort to not draw as much attention to Robinson, saying,
“I did not employ a Negro because he was a Negro, nor did I have in mind at all doing something for the Negro race, or even bringing up the issue. I simply wanted to win a pennant for the Brooklyn Dodgers and I wanted the best human beings I could find to help me win it.” (Houston Chronicle)
Rickey’s strategy failed to help Robinson at that time. White Major League players continued to speak out against Robinson. Cleveland Indians ace pitcher, Bob Feller, was quoted as saying, “Robinson never would be able to hit big-league pitching because his shoulders were not constructed like white players.” Boston infielder, Alvin Dark said, “Negroes don’t think as quick as whites.” (Houston Chronicle)
The discrimination continued in May of 1947, when the Cardinals planned a strike in protest of Robinson’s presence in St. Louis. Ford Frick, President of the National League said he would suspend any player who took place in the strike. “They will be suspended and I don’t care if it wrecks the National League for five years,” Frick said, “This is the United States of America and one citizen has as much right to play as another.”(West)
Initially, Robinson’s teammates taunted him as well; they threatened to boycott playing if he was on the roster. The boycott was led by Dixie Walker, but was supported by other teammates such as Tommy Brown, Eddie Miksis, Carl Furillo, Peter Reiser, Tommy Tatum, Eddie Stackey, Dan Bankhead, and Bobby Bragdon. The Dodgers manager, Branch Rickey told these ringleader players they could go play for a different team if they weren’t happy, but Robinson was going to play. Robinson did have support from one teammate, that was Pee Wee Reese who was a Kentucky-born shortstop, and later the two became close friends.
Being silent and concentrating on baseball was very difficult for Robinson at times, it took a great deal of inner strength to continue playing baseball as the only black man in the Major League. Robinson was told by the commissioner of baseball Albert Chandler that he could not acknowledge insults or retaliate in anyway because the first black Major League ballplayer would have enough against him without adding fuel to the fire. To spite his fiery temper Robinson never made any move to retaliate.
To Robinson’s amazement, the barrier began to slowly breakdown, when the other teams couldn’t rattle him, they turned on his teammates with insults about having a black teammate. During a game against the Phillies, Dodger Eddie Stankey had watched Robinson be insulted one to many times and screamed, “Listen, you yellow-bellied cowards, why don’t you yell at someone who can answer back!” (West) The strength to turn the other cheek and remain silent; as well as his abilities on the baseball field had earned Robinson the respect of his teammates on the Brooklyn Dodgers.
By the end of his rookie year, Robinson said this about the season, I had started the season as a lonely man, often feeling like a black Don Quixote tilting at a lot of white windmills, I ended it feeling like a member of a solid team. The Dodgers were a championship team because all of us had learned something. I had to learn how to exercise self-control, to answer insults, violence, and injustice with silence, and I had learned how to earn the respect of my teammates. They had learned that it’s not skin color but talent and ability that counts. Maybe even bigots had learned that, too. (West)
Having the respect of his teammates and admiration of his abilities as a Major League ballplayer, Robinson came out on top, playing for the Dodgers until 1956. Through the adversity he led the National League in stolen bases, helped the Dodgers win the pennant in 1947. During this same year Robinson was named rookie of the year in the major leagues. This award would later be renamed in his honor. In 1962 Robinson was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame; he was the first black player to receive this honor.
Robinson’s overall talent placed him in the position of being among the best players of his era, regardless of race. His career batting average was.317, with the majority of is non-hitting at bats being walks rather than strikeouts. He had 137 career homeruns with 734 runs batted in, not leaving his teammates on base very often. Robinson played several defensive positions including 1st base, 3rd base and outfield extremely well. He was very aggressive as a base runner, especially stealing home quite often. When on base, Robinson’s physical presence would intimidate the opposing pitchers, catchers, and middle infielders causing them to lose their concentration. Robinson is also remembered as a fierce competitor because he never gave up on a game even if his team was losing.
Because of Robinson’s courage, his jersey, number 42 was retired by the Dodgers on June 4th, 1972. He was further honored when all Major League Baseball teams retired jersey number 42 in 1997 which was the 50th anniversary of Robinson’s major league debut. April 15th of every year is now declared “Jackie Robinson Day” in all major league baseball parks.
In 1947, life in America was segregation; there were separate schools for blacks and whites, separate restaurants, separate hotels, separate drinking fountains and separate baseball leagues. Before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus to Montgomery, Alabama, before Brown vs. Board of Education, and before Martin Luther King, Jr. was very well known. Jackie Robinson, one man, had the guts to slowly chip away at the color barrier that separated black from white so that other African Americans could join Major League Baseball without the discrimination he faced.
“He changed the sport and he changed the attitude of a lot of people in this country. When I think of Jackie Robinson, I think of all the people who fought and how fortunate a lot of us are especially the minority guys, to be able to play in the major leagues and the impact people of color have today. I mean, you knew it was going to happen, sooner or later, but being the first of anything is always the toughest.”
Said Giants Manager Dusty Baker (Allen). Dusty Baker was also an African American who played for the Dodgers from 1976-83.
Robinson opened the door for African Americans to play Major League Sports. The initial impact was slow; in 1948 Larry Doby joined the Cleveland Indians, becoming the first African American to play for the American League. The door stayed open, slowly eroding the color barrier for other African Americans. In 1948 Roy Campanelia also began his baseball career with the Cleveland Indians. In 1949 Monte Irvin signed with the New York Giants, and by 1950 other great African American baseball players like Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, and Hank Aaron all played for various Major League Ball teams. (IMA Hero)
By 1959 all Major League teams had at least one African American ballplayer on their roster but there has been a significant increase since that time. As of 1970 African American and other minorities made up over half of the league rosters, with the African Americans making up 28% of the roster. Although the amount of African Americans playing Major League Baseball has not increased, but is remaining about the same today. It is also important to remember that other professional sports such as football, basketball, & golf have seen an increase in African American players since the 1970’s which explains the leveling off of numbers of African Americans playing Major League Baseball (Encarta).
“We want to make sure that no generation forgets the contribution Jackie Robinson made not just to baseball, but also to civil rights.” says Jacqueline Parkes, spokesperson for Major League Baseball. “In many ways, baseball transcends sports. It has a social responsibility.” Jackie Roosevelt Robinson died on October 24th, 1972, the epitaph that appears on his gravestone he wrote himself, it reads, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” (Encarta) Robinson is gone, but the impact he had is still larger than life, he removed the color barrier and paved the way for African Americans to participate in Major League Baseball today.
Allen, Maury. “Jackie Robinson: an American Hero.” Eves Magazine. 6 Feb. 2008 <http://www.evesmag.com/robinson.htm>.
“Jackie Robinson,” Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2007
http://encarta.msn.com © 1997-2007 Microsoft Corporation.
Denenberg, Barry. Stealing Home: the Story of Jackie Robinson. Scholastic Paperbacks, 1990. 5-23.
“Jackie Robinson.” Chron.Com. May 1998. 6 Feb. 2008 <chron.com/content/chronicle/sports/special/barriers/history.htm>.
“Jackie Robinson.” Wikipedia. 12 Jan. 2008. 6 Feb. 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackie_Robinson>.
West, Jean. “Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson: Interview Essay.” Jim Crow History. New York Life. 6 Feb. 2008 <http://www.jimcrowhistory.org/resources/pdf/hs_in_robinson_rickey.pdf>.
“Jackie Robinson in-Depth.” IMA Hero Reading Program. 1999. StarRise Creations. 6 Feb. 2008 <http://www.imahero.com/readingprogram/jackierobinson.html>.
Jackie Robinson And His Historical Context In History
Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson was an African-American born on Jan 31, 1919 in the United States. He was born from a poor family and brought up by a single mother after his father disowned them at a tender age along with his other siblings. Robinson had a craving for Sports enhanced by his athletic body and excelled not only in Baseball but also in Football, Basketball, and Track. He was a professional baseball player at a time in the history of United States when the color of the skin was a determining factor in many aspects of life including sports. During that time whites and blacks led completely different lives and Baseball was no exception but Jackie Robinson is said to have broken that baseball color line and went ahead to have his baseball career that was quite exceptional.
Despite the segregation blacks faced from the whites Jackie Robinson was more determined day by day to perform to the highest level. The president Branch Rickey and the Dodger organization (including part-owner, Vice president and General Counselor Walter O’Malley) hand-selected him to cross the precipitous color line. He received ridicule and mockery from teammates, competitors, fans, umpires, writers, broadcasters and hotel managers but he promised president Rickey that he would not fight back other than with his bat and glove. When off the field the case was no different for he had to deal with Southern bigotry; anonymous death threats, racial remarks and opponents who were there to injure him. Robinson agreed to take on this historical civil rights challenge and qualified to succeed (Walter O’ Malley).
He made a lot of achievements and contributions both as an African-American and as a person. He was an extremely talented multi-sports player, a strong and courageous man who also played an active role in civil rights. He excelled in four major sports; football, basketball, track and baseball. Branch Rickey was the President and General Manager of Brooklyn Dodger who selected Robinson from a list of African-American and assigned him to Montreal Royal which was a part of Brooklyn Dodgers ‘Triple-Afarm’. And he (Branch Rickey) wanted a man who could refrain from the ugliness of the racial hatred that was certain to come. In fact a shorthand version of this fateful conversation in August 1945 is provided by many writers and journalists. Rickey is said to have told Robinson ‘I know you are a good ball player. What I don’t know is whether you have the guts`.Robinson had responded ‘Mr. Rickey, are you looking for a Negro to fight back?” Rickey exploded, ‘Robinson, I am looking for a ball player with guts enough not to fight back”. This heated argument has become an inspiring pact between two men who would later change the course of the country. ‘Baseball might only be a game, but in the area of black and white, it often is a leader (Latty Schwartz)
Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to play in the major leagues since the baseball color line was implemented in 1889. He also led in international Leagues. According to Robinson career batting statistics he stole home nineteen (19) times in his illustrious career. According to Walter O’Malley who was the team owner in his article wrote that in Robinson’s ten seasons, he was a six-time N.L All-Star, was an integral part of six N.L. Pennant-winning Dodger teams (1947, 1949,1952,1953,1955,1956) and he also won N.L battling title in 1949 with 342 average. Also won N.L MVP Award in 1949. He was also the first African-American player to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of fame in 1962. Robinson rejected any move to have him play for any other club apart from Dodger and announced his retirement on January 1957.
Robinson’s memorable talents in the Baseball field and his integrity as a man have not only earned him awards and honors but also great respect, pride and un-ending life-term memories to all the generations, those that existed and those to come. Many anniversaries and commemorations in his honor are celebrated up to date and he and the baseball game are symbolic of a microcosm of U.S. culture that magnifies societal change and acting as an inspirational force that shapes a new way of thinking, acting and remembering history.(Rednour.J 2008) His act of breaking Baseball color’s barrier on April 18, 1946 when Brooklyn Dodger owner Branch Rickey signed him in to play the Brooklyn Dodgers in the National League displayed the image of a true character of patience, humbleness and self-controlled .
The yelling from the fans that made racial sentiments did not deter him from playing and Robinson teammate Ree Wee Reese said that he did not know of any other ball player who would be able to hit with everybody yelling at him. He blocked all that out, blocked out everything but not the ball that was coming in at a hundred miles an hour and he had only a split second to make up his mind if it was in or out or down or coming at his head a split second to swing. Yet under all these conditions he went through day in and day out he made it and Pee Wee Reese his teammate and a Captain of the team felt that it was the most tremendous thing he had ever seen in sports.
A Robinson sentiment is written in many works and was quoted telling a White New Orleons sportswriter ‘We ask for nothing special. We ask only to be permitted to live as you live and as our nation’s constitution provides’. He bore a burden of pioneer in many fields not only in sports but his inspiring words; actions and his thrilling work in the field made him stronger his respect and admiration from his peers and fan worldwide.
Many consider Jack Robinson a civil right Advocate whose fights came through Baseball. His era saw the black person being deprived off the right of the American first-class citizenship. They were American citizen yet they were discriminated against and one of the quotes by Jackie Robinson was ‘We are demanding that we just be given the things that are rightfully ours and that we are not looking for anything else’. Jackie was one of the many African-American who made great contributions in uplifting the plight and welfare of black people not only in his demand for civil rights but also effective participation in democracy based upon enjoyment of basic freedoms which was taken for granted by everyone else just like Martin Luther King Junior said; he would wish to see the day when every person in America was treated equally irrespective of the skin color. Jackie prayed to see the most underprivileged Negro lived in equal dignity with anyone else in America.
Jackie Robinson desegregated not only Baseball but also America too politically, economically and socially. Earlier Baseball was a game of the whites and African American was not to play. Socially, America was able to break the racial boundaries that existed between the whites and blacks. Earlier there was a form of prejudice where the skin of the color more or less determined a person’s intelligence and capability, no wonder many whites could not stand to see the face of a black person in the fields. The team players, the fans and more worse the opponents literally refused to play and watch Jackie Robinson play and not because of how bad or well he could play but because he was a black whose place was “in the cotton field”. Many African-Americans were allowed to play in those games and sports which were considered to be Whiteman’s. Later public schools were also desegregated. America was forced to confront and change its legacy of racism and challenges of becoming a truly united country (Dorinson J et al1999)
Jackie Robinson quotes, ‘A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives’ and many agreed that his life and contributions are among the most important in America’s history. His American dream did not only touch on political arena but also on education .In conferences commemorating Jackie Robinson’s history debut as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team celebrated throughout the year in various parts of America, many scholars and students, his teammates and opponents, commentators and fans all gather with a common mission to participate in the event. The focus is extended beyond the historic events, sports to a greater analyses and commentaries and pursuit of the American dreams. Many authors have presented a wide variety of callings such as scholars, sportswriters, journalists, ballplayers and baseball fans (Dorinson J et al 1999). Their works presents diversity of styles and range of opinions and do not consistently conform to a single academic standard.
Our memory of him is made memorable by the beauty of such heady mix of journalism, scholarship and memory. There is a lot we can learn from such works, we need to concentrate on the lessons learnt from that generation that is quickly ‘passing into eternity’ (Dorinson J et al 1999). Jackie excelled economically for he was the first black person to serve the position of Vice President of a major American major Corporation. In 1957 he chaired the NAACP’s million dollar Freedom Fund Drive and he was a board member up to 1967. He became one of six national directors for Nelson Rockefeller’s Republican presidential campaign. He was later to become special assistant for community affairs in 1966 when Rockefeller was re-elected as the governor of New York. In 1970 Robinson established the Jackie Robinson construction company which main objective was to build housing for families with low incomes.
He was a fervent patriot who was committed to using his celebrity status and considerable resources to overcome the racial divide and that his children would have a brighter and bolder future (Long Michael 2007). However Robinson’s Maverick did not always go unchallenged and he made a considerable number of enemies like Malcolm X and his followers who depicted him as an “Uncle Tom” perfectly suited to clean up after his white bosses. The Mixon administration identified him as a threat significant enough to warrant a written report from J. Edgar Hoover even after as he (Robinson) offered to help (Long M 2007). Some of the enemies too felt that Robinson was not in any way unique, he played like other major players, and only his case was treated special just because he was an African American. To them there were other better and talented players but who did not ‘receive’ all these praises attributed to Robinson. In the field many were ‘drawn’ to him for his uniqueness (to refer to the fact that he was among the few blacks, infact the only black who was playing). That worked in his favor.
As for fighting for civil rights, the critics argue that other prominent persons had an upper hand in such matters and underwent more serious struggle and hardship as compared to Jackie Robinson. The current Robinson’s enemies feel that the much enjoyed civil rights of black people in America is the handwork of many including Martin Luther King who was assassinated for his just cause. To those enemies the list is endless and it is not fair when one person is recognized more than others who went through the same struggle. The latter agree that Robison played a significant role but with the help of others.
Those views are based on opinions from different people who may not necessarily have written articles on Robinson. They are spoken utterances rather than written ones from people who don’t see the point of so much jubilations of a hero who is long gone. However, Jackie Robinson supporters’ outweigh the enemies and much of the published works is clear evidence. Robinson letters and files are found in national archives. Among the popular ones is the first class citizenship in his demand for civil rights for the African American. Author Michael G. Long examined letters written by and to Jackie Robinson with the approval of his wife Rachel. His project was to examine and voice Jackie Robinson through his letters and replies far beyond the baseball diamond for the generations to understand the complicated history of race and politics in the United States. This book written ‘First class citizenship’ takes us to Jackie Robinson inner person.
Among his replies is to troubled young woman who had written of her love for him. Michael G. Long comments that this letter (from a secret admirer) revealed Robinson’s quick and easy appeal to moral principles- an appeal that would become characteristic of his civil rights letters. His response was that the girl (letter writer) was no doubt attractive and intelligent and would have no difficulty in finding the right man for her to create sound and honest life in marriage. She should go for some other kind of work outside her daily routine for she was suffering from some kind of mental delusion. He went on to say that he married Mrs. Robinson and exchanged vows to love, honor and cherish her for the rest of his life and ‘honor’ meant just that to him and any sneaking, skulking escapade would destroy the very thing that enabled him to hold his head up high.
The character of Jackie Robinson portrayed by this response is that of a faithful person who would not commit adultery under any circumstances. Other letters include those written to Branch Ricky whom he considered and respected like his own father. He says it was the finest experience he ever had being associated with Rickey and thanked him for what he meant to them and his family and also to the entire country and particularly the members of the African-American. To his friend and team mate Pee Wee Reese who helped him face racism especially from fans with a lot of courage a friend who was always ready to help but would refuse to take credit. Reese was the force that kept Dodger together in the clubhouse.
Any player who had a personal problem would always make his way to Reese cubicle for he offered friendly and helpful advice. (WalterO`Malley)At one time in the field fans yelled at Jackie shouting. `How can you play with this nigger`.Pee Wee went and put his arm around Jackie as if to say `This is my boy? This is the guy. We are gonna win with him`. The crowd shouted more and that’s why Pee Wee is such an instrumental person contributing in Jackie Robinson life (Pee Wee Quotes)
Jackie Robinson died at early age of fifty three in Staford, Connecticut on October twenty, 1972 of a heart attack. He had disease complications and diabetes that weakened him and made him blind at his middle age. In his last moments he expressed his wish to have more African American in Baseball team and senior posts.
Despite his death, his memories dwell in the minds of many even those who were born years later after his death. There has been no other great ballplayer that has touched many people like Jackie did. He started as a baseball player who would later shape the dreams of an entire generation. He overcame many barriers and there is a lot the world has learnt from him. To-date he continues to receive great awards and many charitable organization started in his name. Millions of lives have been uplifted and inspired by his generous act
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Robinson.J, Long.M.G, 2007, First Class Citizenship: The Civil Rights Letters of Jackie Robinson, Macmillan, 2007
Retrieved on 13th 2008
Dorinson.J, Warmund.J, Schumer.C.E, Jackie Robinson: Race, Sports, and the American Dream M.E. Sharpe, 1999
Retrieved on 13th 2008
Rednour.J, 2008,500 HRC Sluggers Celebrate Black History Month by Remembering Jackie Robinson
Retrieved on 13th 2008