Jackie Robinson's 100th birthday to be celebrated with tour in 2019


USA TODAY

Published 5:58 p.m. ET Nov. 8, 2018

Jackie Robinson, one of the few athletes in American history who has transcended the sports world, is turning 100 years old next year.

And the Jackie Robinson Foundation is preparing a celebration fitting of his status as an icon.

The foundation announced Tuesday it will host a centennial tour throughout 2019, starting on Jan. 31, which marks Robinson’s 100th birthday, and concluding in December with the opening of the Jackie Robinson Museum in New York City. 

In addition to preserving the legacy of the man who broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947, the tour will promote the opening of the museum and benefit the foundation’s scholarship and education programs, Della Britton Baeza, president and CEO of the Jackie Robinson foundation, said to USA TODAY Sports.

The foundation currently provides scholarships to 242 undergraduate students and is in the process of expanding to an online platform in an attempt to reach a broader audience of students. The foundation has helped more than 1,500 minority students pay for college since it’s establishment in 1973.

“Our way of growing what we’re doing in this decade is to show what we’ve been doing for 45 years,” Britton told USA TODAY Sports. 

The Jackie Robinson Museum, located near from the Freedom Tower and 9/11 Memorial, will offer a tangible tribute to Robinson’s impact on civil rights and American culture. 

“It has been our family’s dream to have a physical space where my father’s legacy and the values and ideals by which he lived could inspire others,” Jackie’s daughter, Sharon, said of the museum. “We are excited to shine a light on my father’s life, while raising funds to continue to positively impact the lives of others.”  

The tour will make stops in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami and Boston, as fans get a preview at some of the exhibits that will be unveiled at the museum. A travelling exhibit from the museum will also be making stops in New Orleans, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis and Miami. The tour also features events like a jazz concert in New York City and a speaker series.

A major stop on the tour will be on April 15, when the MLB will hold its annual Jackie Robinson Day. To honor the day that Robinson played his first major league game, all players don the famous No. 42 jersey, which was retired league-wide in 1997.

In addition to an on-field centennial tribute to Robinson at Dodger Stadium, the foundation will be partnering with New Era Cap to roll out themed merchandise. 

“His contributions to society and from a humanitarian standpoint … were so important,” Britton noted. “(Robinson) was very much trailblazer of racial integration in this country.”

 

 

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