Today, Sunday, May 15, marks the date of Major League Baseball’s annual Civil Rights Game. The event, which began in 2007, was inspired by then-Memphis Redbirds president Dave Chase and was held at AutoZone Park in each of its first two seasons.
After MLB took the game over, it moved to Cincinnati in 2009 and 2010 and now to Atlanta for this year and next. The Philadelphia Phillies will face the Atlanta Braves in the nationally-televised broadcast on TBS Sunday, May 15 at 1:30 P.M.
Former St. Louis Cardinals first baseman, ex-National League president and long-time broadcaster Bill White wrote an article for CNN for the occasion. It reminds us that while Jackie Robinson’s breaking of the color barrier in 1947 was crucial, it was just the first step in a long battle that went on for over two decades.
While the game on the field was integrated, off the field, segregation was not only common, it remained acceptable to many. White and many others began to speak out despite the personal and professional risks involved.
What followed not only drove positive changes in the Cardinals practices during spring training, but more importantly, helped open the door for a much broader impact across all walks of life in America.
That is the message to be remembered today.