FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PHILADELPHIA – March 16, 2022 –On Friday, April 8, Klein College of Media and Communication’s newly created Claire Smith Center for Sports Media will use its first-ever symposium to examine the civil rights history made by Jackie Robinson and the Dodgers.
This event will commemorate an important time in history, as April 15, 2022 will mark the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and it is for that incredible legacy that this symposium was created to honor Robinson.
“When Jackie Robinson donned the uniform of the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, he became the first African American to join a major league team in over a half a century,” said Claire Smith, namesake and co-director of the center and groundbreaking sportswriter. “His presence that day fulfilled the dreams of generations of Black players, and Dodgers owner Branch Rickey, that the game’s color barrier be torn down forever. That, and so much more happened that day, as Jackie struck the first major blow of the 20th Century against the insidious segregation that soiled most every aspect of American life.”
In fact, shortly before his death in 1968, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, said, “Jackie Robinson made my success possible. Without him, I would never have been able to do what I did.”
The hybrid symposium, scheduled to begin at noon ET, will feature:
Keynote speaker Dusty Baker, manager of the Houston Astros and iconic player
Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Museum, Kansas City
Melissa Ludtke, reporter who, along with Sports Illustrated, filed the lawsuit that that opened MLB clubhouses to women reporters
Sean Gibson, great grandson of Josh Gibson and head of the Josh Gibson Foundation
Branch Rickey III, grandson of the Dodgers owner who signed Jackie Robinson in 1947
Presentations by Temple Journalism students and on-campus news outlets
Also invited to participate are:
C. Vivian Stringer, first African American women’s coach inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame; only coach to take three different universities to the NCAA Division I Championship Game
Aaron McKie, Temple’s men’s basketball head coach; former 76ers standout
Dawn Staley, Olympic Gold medal player and head coach, Temple alumna
Ryan Howard, former Phillies All-Star and NL MVP
Billy King, former 76ers president and only African American to hold such a position with one of the city’s four major professional sports
“Jackie Robinson was an Inspirational ‘Beacon of Hope’ for Black people in America as he broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. His success gave Black people the courage to pursue their passions in all career fields as many brave Black Americans were returning from fighting for the country in World War II,” noted Temple University Vice President and Director of Athletics Arthur Johnson. “He is a reminder that we can pursue our passions at the highest level available to anyone and you represent something bigger than yourself. His story lives and continues to inspire people of color when MLB honors him each year.”
Smith noted that Robinson’s legacy has only intensified as he has gone down in history. “[Robinson’s] impact remains as relevant today as it was 75 years ago, for the fight for racial equality never ceases,” she said. “Therefore The Claire Smith Center for Sports Media is honored to have as its first public symposium a study of an historic moment that forever changed American culture."
Register to attend in person or virtually.