Beyond Home Plate.

Author:Helicher, Karl
Position:Book review

Michael G. Long (editor); BEYOND HOME PLATE; Syracuse University Press (Nonfiction: Sports & Recreation) 29.95 ISBN: 9780815610014

Byline: Karl Helicher

A powerful voice for integration and the oppressed, baseball and civil rights icon shows his humanitarian nature.

After Jackie Robinson ended his major league career with the Brooklyn Dodgers, he became a nationally syndicated columnist for the New York Post (1959-60) and then the influential African-American paper the New York Amsterdam News (1962-68). His column for the News, "Home Plate," showed Robinson to be a relentless advocate of "first-class citizenship" for African Americans, who had historically been denied their constitutional rights. Robinson pulled no punches and took on all obstructionists with the same determination that helped him earn his place in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

These columns reveal Robinson as a fiery prophet who called former President Truman "pathetic and senile" for rebuking the 1960 sit-ins and challenged President Eisenhower to "stay away from his Jim Crow golf club in Augusta." Robinson was a political independent, although he worked for Nelson Rockefeller's 1964 presidential campaign and favored Richard Nixon over John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson in 1960 because of Nixon's civil rights advocacy while vice president.

Michael Long offers a well-chosen compilation that also shows Robinson's humanitarian nature with columns that describe his admiration for Dodger owner Branch Rickey, Martin Luther King Jr., Robinson's wife, Rachel, and, as he...

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