I had a great day off during my recent conference trip to America – I visited Daytona Beach. What it is best known for is probably not the most significant thing that happened there. Nascar racing is what makes the headlines but many years ago something very significant happened in another sport – baseball. On March 17th 1946 the Brooklyn Dodgers were playing a Spring Break Exhibition Game and in the second inning a new player came to the plate – Jackie Robinson – the first African American to play major league baseball. Daytona Beach was a place which ignored segregation laws and allowed black and white spectators to sit together and were willing to allow an integrated baseball team play at City Island Ballpark – now renamed Jackie Robinson Ballpark- this was the only ballpark in the entire state of Florida willing to do this. Some of the community leaders took a decision to act in a way that promoted equality and justice – nearly seventy years on from this incident we still need brave community leaders to make such choices.
If you have never heard of Jackie Robinson click the link above – a story worth reading.