© Jimmy Margulies

Century Marks

On and off the field: This year marks the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s shattering of the color barrier in Major League Baseball, and this October will mark the 35th anniversary of his death at the age of 53. (Amazingly, he threw out the ceremonial pitch at the 1972 World Series just a few days before dying of complications from diabetes.) The coverage of the 60th anniversary has largely ignored the significance of Christian faith in Robinson’s life, as well as his civil rights work that went beyond the baseball diamond. But when Robinson was alive, progressive Christians, black and white, celebrated that work. In July 1963, for instance, the United Church of Christ presented Robinson with its Chairmanship Award. Robinson, a member of the UCC, was elected president of United Church Men, and he participated in the social ministries of both the National Council of Churches and the National Conference of Christians and Jews (Michael G.

 

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