The AP reports: “Jackie Robinson posthumously awarded Congressional Gold Medal.” Erica Werner writes:
More than a half-century after breaking sport’s color barrier, Jackie Robinson was posthumously awarded Congress’ highest honor, a Congressional Gold Medal, on Wednesday.
President Bush gave the medal to Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson, in a stately ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda. The Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate and baseball commissioner Bud Selig looked on.
“His story is one that shows what one person can do to hold America to account to its founding promise of freedom and equality,” Bush said. “It’s a lesson for people coming up to see. One person can make a big difference in setting the tone of this country.”
Under unimaginably difficult circumstances, Jackie Robinson comported himself with a dignity that matched his athletic excellence. A true American hero.
The AFP caption reads: “US President George W. Bush smiles at Jackie Robinson’s wife, Rachel, after he and House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R) presented her with a Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony for her late husband on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.(AFP/Brendan Smialowski)”
The 1947 photo of Robinson by W.C. Greene below comes from the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
The caption reads: “Jackie Robinson wearing his Montreal uniform, stepping into the Brooklyn Dodgers’ clubhouse for the first time.”
UPDATE: Click here for a transcript of the president’s remarks upon awarding the medal.
DEACON adds: As a trivia note, I believe that Robinson was a Republican, though of the liberal variety. He campaigned for Richard Nixon in 1960. The only endorsement by a black that Kennedy considered of comparable value was that of Martin Luther King. Thus, Kennedy waged a campaign to gain King’s support. He finally succeeded when he came to King’s support after MLK was arrested.