“I finally got dressed and looked at myself in the mirror. I was wearing a brand-new uniform-No. 42. It fit me and was comfortable, but I still felt like a stranger, or an uninvited guest.”
Jackie Robinson is credited as the baseball player who broke the color barrier in major league baseball – though interestingly he was not the first to play as this work points out.
Sixty-three years before Robinson was Moses Fleetwood Walker. So how was Robinson able to open the door for other players when Walker could not? The book doesn’t delve into it and readers can only speculate, but perhaps it was Robinson’s hyper-awareness the role of “Jackie” and the choices and compromises he made within himself to pull it off “on the biggest stage of “American’s favorite pastime.”” Jackie Robinson was “the acceptable guest in MLB,” whereas Jack Robinson was “the uncompromising Black freedom fighter.” They were two separate personalities until he began to merge the two and “”Jackie” had returned to being “Jack.””
This chapter book biography makes it quite clear that “Jack” was far more interesting than “Jackie.” He was a soldier, an activist, and a newspaper columinst. He was the chairman for Freedom National Bank, created a construction company to help combat housing issues, while speaking of and with the likes of Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcom X without being afraid to point out his differing opinions in the public view.
There is no shortage of “Jackie Robinson” biographies in the Library collection, and yet within the chapters of Call Him Jack, I was introduced to new facets of the Robinson I thought I had known about. I recommend this biography for accomplished upper elementary readers who are interested in sports, civil rights, or just general American history. Even teens and adult readers will likely discover new facts in these pages.
Back matter includes a timeline, extra trivia facts about Robinson, and topics to think about making it a valuable source for any biography project.