Jonathan Cohen

Jonathan Cohen

Posted on 12/06/2013

Photo taken on August 18, 2012

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Jackie Robinson – Pie-IX Metro Station, Montréal, Québec

Jackie Robinson – Pie-IX Metro Station, Montréal, Québec
Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972) was the first African American to play in Major League Baseball since the 1880’s. The example of Jackie Robinson’s character and unquestionable talent challenged the traditional basis of segregation, which then marked many other aspects of American life, and contributed significantly to the Civil Rights Movement.

Following honourable service in World War II, Robinson played for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League before the Brooklyn Dodgers signed him. He spent the 1946 season with the Montreal Royals of the International League, the Dodgers’ premier farm team..

During that year, Robinson lived in a French Canadian working class neighbourhood with his wife, Rachel. In a 1987 editorial for the New York Times on the 40th annivesary of his milestone, Rachel Robinson reflected on their time on de Gaspé Street after a difficult experience enduring discrimination in spring training in Florida. "We left the South bruised, stimulated, and more contemplative than we arrived. A more resilient pair. Had it not been for the fact that we broke in in Montreal, I doubt seriously we could have made the grade so rapidly," Jackie Robinson himself said in a 1964 CBC interview. "The fans there were just fantastic and my wife and I have nothing but the greatest memories. Our totally opposite experience in Montreal later that year provided us with an excellent springboard into the majors … Montreal and then Brooklyn became special havens where we gradually regained our sense of ourselves and our dignity."

Jackie Robinson died in 1972. This statue by Jules Lasalle was dedicated on May 16, 1987 by the Montreal Expos baseball club in the presence of his widow.