The Friends of the Elaine I. Sprauve Library will celebrate the life of legendary baseball icon Jackie Robinson during Black History Month this February. Robinson’s daughter, Sha-ron Robinson, will visit St. John February 14 and 15 to speak to school groups and the Friends of the Library members and other guests.
The Friends of the Library, the Westin Resort and Pond Bay Club are sponsoring Robinson’s visit to St. John to highlight the importance of Black History Month and its impressive list of honorees around the world to Virgin Islanders of all ages.
Highlights of the Friends of the Library’s tribute to Jackie Robinson include:
The Friends of the Library is hosting a Picture Drawing Exhibition for first through third graders and a Short Essay Expose for fourth through ninth graders. Based on Robinson’s book, “Jackie’s Nine, Jackie Robinson’s Values to Live By,” students will incorporate one of the nine values in their work: courage, determination, teamwork, persistence, integrity, citizenship, justice, commitment, and excellence. The first six essay entrants from each grade will receive a copy of the book, and all essays and pictures will be displayed on the first floor of The Marketplace beginning on February 10 and remaining throughout Black History Month.
A documentary of his extraordinary life, “The Jackie Robinson Story,” will be shown daily during the month of February at the library at 3:30 p.m. or by appointment as re-quested for school groups or other organizations.
On Wednesday, February 14, Robinson will speak to students, teachers and parents about the importance of youths’ values and strategies in life at the library at 3:30 p.m.
On Thursday, February 15, Robinson will attend the library’s weekly Children’s Story Hour for pre-schoolers from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
The highlight of her visit to St. John will culminate as the featured speaker at the Friends’ annual meeting at the library on Thursday, February 15, at 5:30 p.m. All Virgin Islanders and island visitors are welcome to attend.
Robinson is the author of several books for young readers, including “Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America” (2004) and her newest book, “Safe at Home” (Scholas-tic, 2006), a novel.
As Vice President of Edu-cational Programming for Major League Baseball, she oversees school and community-based education programs such as “Breaking Barriers, In Sport, In Life,” educating students on the values and traits they need to deal with barriers and challenges, and to empower students with strategies to help them face obstacles in their lives.
As the first African-American player who broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier in 1947, Jackie Robinson was able to overcome prejudice from fans and players alike and accomplished a career worthy of being elected to the prestigious National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, his first year of eligibility.
Excelling in sports at the University of California, Los Angeles, Jackie Robinson be-came a star infielder and outfielder for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1947–56). Largely responsible for the acceptance of black athletes in professional sports, he led the Dodgers to six National League pennants and one World Series, in 1955. He was Rookie of the Year in 1947, and league batting champion and Most Valuable Player in 1949.
In 1997, MLB celebrated its 50th Anniversary by retiring Robinson’s uniform number, 42, throughout the league, the only number in baseball history retired league-wide. Baseball Commissioner Allan (Bud) Selig has called Robinson’s historic achievement “baseball’s proudest and most powerful moment.”
Major League Baseball an-nounced its plans to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s entry into the Major Leagues that broke baseball’s color barrier in April 2007.
“Baseball became the true national pastime when Jackie Robinson first set foot on a Major League Baseball field,” said Selig. “Major League Baseball has not forgotten the incredible contribution and sacrifice that he made, and I am pleased that we have this opportunity to honor the 60th anniversary of this historic moment. Jackie’s legacy has inspired so many of our players over the last 60 years and I believe that his influence will continue to be felt for decades to come.”
For more information on scheduling a special viewing of “The Jackie Robinson Story” at the library, call Carol McGuin-ness at the library at 776-6359.