Tuesday was Jackie Robinson’s birthday. On this day, as on the April 15 anniversary of his first major-league game, we sports fans celebrate one of the greatest baseball players of all time, and one of the most revered heroes in American history.
The lens of perception tends to soften over time. Robinson might be universally loved today. But in 1947, he was widely reviled as an interloper trying to break through a wall of segregation. By threatening decades of white dominance, the mere act of Robinson playing in a baseball game became deeply political.
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