Jackie and Campy: The Untold Story of Their Rocky Relationship and the Breaking of Baseball's Color Line

Jackie and Campy: The Untold Story of Their Rocky Relationship and the Breaking of Baseball's Color Line

Jackie and Campy: The Untold Story of Their Rocky Relationship and the Breaking of Baseball's Color Line

Jackie and Campy: The Untold Story of Their Rocky Relationship and the Breaking of Baseball's Color Line

Synopsis

As star players for the 1955 World Champion Brooklyn Dodgers, and prior to that as the first black players to be candidates to break professional baseball's color barrier, Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella would seem to be natural allies. But the two men were divided by a rivalry going far beyond the personality differences and petty jealousies of competitive teammates. Behind the bitterness were deep and differing beliefs about the fight for civil rights.nbsp;

Robinson, the more aggressive and intense of the two, thought Jim Crow should be attacked head-on; Campanella, more passive and easygoing, believed that ability, not militancy, was the key to racial equality. Drawing on interviews with former players such as Monte Irvin, Hank Aaron, Carl Erskine, and Don Zimmer, Jackie and Campy offers a closer look at these two players and their place in a historical movement torn between active defiance and passive resistance. William C. Kashatus deepens our understanding of these two baseball icons and civil rights pioneers and provides a clearer picture of their time and our own.

Excerpt

In 1956 Martin Luther King Jr., a young African American Baptist minister, achieved overnight fame when he led a black boycott of the Montgomery, Alabama, bus system. King’s introduction of “massive resistance” as a legitimate form of racial protest inspired a Supreme Court decision declaring segregation in public transportation to be illegal and forced the City of Montgomery to abandon its discriminatory seating policies. It also marked the beginning of the modern civil rights movement.

For the next twelve years King led various forms of nonviolent protest against racial discrimination. Though his life was threatened repeatedly and he was arrested many times for violating state segregation laws, he never wavered in his quest to win civil rights through nonviolent tactics and with the cooperation of like-minded whites. His efforts were admired worldwide and inspired the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which has been referred to as a Magna Charta for African Americans.

King once confided to his closest aide, Wyatt Tee Walker, that Jackie Robinson’s example in breaking baseball’s color barrier inspired him to pursue racial integration on a national stage. “Jackie made it possible for me in the first place,” he said. “Without him, I would never have been able to do what I did.” Surprised by the revelation, Walker asked him to explain. “Back in the days when integration wasn’t fashionable,” King said, “Jackie understood the trauma and the humiliation and the loneliness which comes with being a pilgrim walking in the lonesome byways toward the high road of freedom. He was a sit-inner before sit-ins and a freedom rider before freedom rides.”

When Roy Campanella, the first black catcher to break the color barrier and a teammate of Robinson’s, learned of the remark, he was quick to . . .

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