The story of Jackie Robinson is well-known.
However, two of the dignitaries at this weekend’s two-day event highlighting the renaming of the Jackie Robinson Boys and Girls Club of Cairo-Grady County, admitted Friday night they received late lessons on the man who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball and who was born in Cairo.
Willie Harris, who followed Robinson’s path to the big leagues, said he didn’t fully know the story until he was a junior at Cairo High School. There, he was encouraged to do a research paper on Robinson, helping to open his eyes.
“That’s sad to be honest with you,” Harris said about not knowing the story earlier. “My English teacher recommended I do my paper on Jackie Robinson because she knew how I felt about baseball. I was very passionate about it, and she felt that in the long run it would be good for me to know where it started from, and not just for African-Americans but if it wasn’t for Jackie Robinson, we wouldn’t have the Latinos playing, you wouldn’t have any of that.
“I think school systems, not just in Cairo but all over the world, should have a class about Jackie Robinson. I’m serious, they should have a class about Jackie Robinson and what he did in breaking the color barrier in baseball. Kids want to play baseball but they need to look back and see who paved the way for them.”
See Sunday's edition for more details.