Monday, March 31, 2008

Historically Important Robinson Item to be Auctioned

Jackie Robinson faced an uphill climb when it came to racial equality in his own life. We all know about the screaming and derisive comments he heard from opposing players and fans during games. Even in Vero Beach Jackie, along with Don Newcombe and other black players, couldn't leave Dodgertown for fear of racial animosity within the city. In many ways Dodgertown became a prison for them. The daily grind and mental shield they had to have is hard to imagine today.

An incident that may be foreign to a lot of folks is Jackie's military past that brushed upon the question of race and gave us an early glimpse at a future leader in race relations. In 1944 Jackie was given a court martial.
A second lieutenant in the United States Army serving at Camp Hood during World War II, Robinson was brought up on charges of insubordination over a racially charged incident on a U.S. Army bus. The verbal altercation with a white driver occurred when the Robinson stopped to talk with a female passenger halfway down the aisle and was ordered to proceed to the back of the bus. Such a directive was against Army policy. Nevertheless, Robinson was court martialed. He was later acquitted and petitioned for a discharge, which was granted honorably by the Army.
Below is one of several court documents that will be available for auction in Memory Lane's April offering.
The lot includes file copies of the legal documents and transcripts associated with the court martial. The documents, one of which contains Robinson's hand-written initials noting a change in his testimony, chronicle the event.
Hat Tip: SCD:

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