Happy Jackie Robinson Day!
Sudip Bhattachary | , Special to Informer | 4/17/2012, 8:07 p.m.
It was nearly 65 years ago when a man named Jackie Robinson changed the sports landscape of America.
Back in 1947, Robinson was an ordinary man who liked to play baseball, but when he wore the Brooklyn Dodgers uniform for the first time, stepping onto the diamond, his footsteps would echo for generations.
On Sunday April 14, The Washington Nationals joined other teams at Nationals Park to honor Robinson by wearing his jersey number (42) during the game. Recipients of the Jackie Robinson Foundation award were also honored during the pre-season ceremony.
"There was a time, years ago, when people of color were not even allowed to be on the field or to even have that opportunity", says Amanda Patterson, a past recipient of the Jackie Robinson Scholarship, who sang the National Anthem.
"I feel honored", said Patterson. "[Jackie Robinson] was a trailblazer, not just for African-Americans or for minorities but for American history. Although he passed away rather young in his life, he did a lot for America and for his country."
Before the Washington Nationals took to the field against the Cincinnati Reds, the winners of the Jackie Robinson Scholarship gathered for photos at home plat. They were clearly in awe of being the center of attention at a Major League Baseball (MLB) game -- especially on the day commemorating Robinson's MLB debut.
Kapria Lee, a college sophomore studying Spanish and Business, explained the significance of the scholarship.
"I read up on [Jackie Robinson] and I knew that he was also in the NAACP and that he was in the Army during World War II," said Lee. "It is very inspiring."
Daril Brown added that he was hoping to travel to China this summer. "The scholarship can help me pay for that," he said.