Robinson called his signing the “day that saved baseball,” but expressed concern that baseball was lagging behind other sports in terms of race relations. “I think baseball is still wallowing around in the 19th century, saying that blacks cannot manage, blacks cannot go to the front office and this kind of thing. I think it is wrong. I think what Mr. Rickey did should be expanded upon.”
Asked about his continuing struggle for civil rights outside of baseball, Robinson said, “When you see blacks and whites at each others throats, and you see the gap widening, you have to be concerned and you have to do whatever you possibly can. Blacks are no longer afraid of situations and it brings on a great deal on controversy, great deal of tragedy in this country. And I think we’ve got to extend ourselves, we’ve got to lend a helping hand wherever we possibly can. So while we may antagonize people in bringing out what’s going on, that’s what has to be done and if people don’t like it, it’s just too bad.”
Additional Interview With Jackie Robinson
Robinson was interviewed for a November 1945 edition of Yank, a weekly magazine put out by the U.S. Army, a month after he signed the contract with Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey that would lead to him breaking the color barrier in April 1947. Robinson spoke of his athletic accomplishments in college, his time in the Army, and his expectations for his baseball career.
“I realize what I’m going into,” he said. “I realize what it mean to me and my race and to baseball, too. I’m very happy for this chance and I can only say that I’ll do my best to make the grade.”
To learn more about Jackie Robinson, read his profile on findingDulcinea.