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Jackie Robinson (New York City Parks & Recreation Public Art)
Jackie Robinson Park

West Harlem / Hamilton Heights / Sugar Hill

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Jackie Robinson
Sculptor Inge Hardison, 1981
Jackie Robinson Recreation Center, Manhattan
Bronze

This sculptural bust honors the athlete who in 1947 broke the ''color barrier'' in Major League Baseball, when he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers. His courage helped to inspire generations of ballplayers, and propel the integration of professional sports. The monument also includes two commemorative tablets, that along with the sculpture, which are located in dramatic entrance lobby of this W.P.A.-era facility.

This bronze portrait bust mounted on the wall of the entryway of Manhattan’s Jackie Robinson Recreation Center depicts Jackie Robinson (1919‧'1972), the first African American Major League Baseball player. The piece was created by Inge Hardison (b. 1904) and was installed in the recreation center at West 147th Street and Bradhurst Avenue in 1981.

Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia, and raised in Pasadena, California. Robinson’s athletic prowess became evident at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he became the first student to letter in four sports: baseball, basketball, football, and track. Robinson played professional football for the Los Angeles Bulldogs before serving in the army during World War II.

After the war, Robinson played baseball in the Negro Leagues for the Kansas City Monarchs, where he caught the eye of Branch Rickey (1881‧'1965), general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Rickey signed Robinson on August 28, 1945 to join the Montreal Royals, the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in the International League. For two years, Robinson toiled in the minor leagues. On April 15, 1947 Robinson made history as the first black man to play in a Major League baseball game, paving the way for generations of black athletes to compete in America’s national pastime.

Parks & Outdoors Parks & Outdoors: Parks West Harlem / Hamilton Heights / Sugar Hill

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