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Letters From Jackie: The Private Thoughts of Jackie Robinson

Letters From Jackie: The Private Thoughts of Jackie Robinson

On DVD: 
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Running Time: 
49 Minutes
Did You Know?

In 1942, Robinson was drafted and assigned to a segregated Army cavalry unit in Fort Riley, Kansas. Having the requisite qualifications, Robinson and several other black soldiers applied for admission to an Officer Candidate School (OCS) then located at Fort Riley. Although the Army's initial July 1941 guidelines for OCS had been drafted as race-neutral, practically speaking few black applicants were admitted into OCS until after subsequent directives by Army leadership. As a result, the applications of Robinson and his colleagues were delayed for several months. After protests by heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis (then stationed at Fort Riley) and the help of Truman Gibson (then an assistant civilian aide to the Secretary of War), the men were accepted into OCS. ~Wikipedia

Letters From Jackie: The Private Thoughts of Jackie Robinson, is a documentary that takes a look back at Robinson’s life as a baseball player, civil rights activist, and correspondent with every day fans to the President.

The documentary begins, naturally, at the beginning where we find Robinson, and upstart player in the Negro League who was later recruited by Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey. Rickey told Robinson he wanted with the guts enough not to fight, a practice that Robinson would endure during his formative years as the first African American major league baseball player.

The documentary brings to light the fact that Robinson was a lone figure in his plight. There was no Dr. Martin Luther King, no NAACP, nothing. It was one man against the world, which really puts Robinson’s struggles into perspective and, unlike the film 42 which I recently wanted, puts Robinson at the forefront of his own struggle. Every death threat, every hiss and boo and negative remark cast at him, every opportunity denied due to the color of his skin and the mindset of the world at the time, it’s Jackie’s story, and instead of fighting back with his fists, he fought back with his talent.

I was happy to find the documentary going far beyond Jackie Robinson the baseball player. Later on in the documentary we follow Robinson’s life as a businessman, a move that helped Robinson move on from breaking the color barrier in baseball to breaking the color barrier in business. We see Robinson as a political activist, using his popularity and fame to get close to the men who ran the country, and pushed every chance he could to help the civil rights movement move closer and closer to its goal.

Seeing Jackie Robinson in the light this documentary shines on him was pretty incredible. He was a man who was shunned because of the color of his skin, both in sports and in life, who remained proud and strong, voiced his opinions to anyone and everyone, went where he wasn’t welcomed and still triumphed over adversity, all during a time when he only had himself and his wife to lean on. That’s courage and belief in ones self we should all aspire to in any endeavor where we feel out gunned. An amazing life brought to light by a pretty great documentary.  

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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