No Room For Fences
by Steve Goodier
You may know that Jackie Robinson was one of the first African Americans to play
major league baseball. In his first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Robinson
faced hostility nearly everywhere he traveled because of his race. Pitchers
threw fastballs at his head. Runners spiked him on the bases. Brutal epithets
were written on cards and shouted by players in the opposing dugouts. Even the
home crowds in Brooklyn saw him as an object of reproach.
During one game in Boston, the taunts and racial slurs seemed to reach a peak.
To make matters worse, Robinson committed an error and stood at second base
humiliated while fans hurled insults at him. Another Dodger, a Southern white
man by the name of "Pee Wee" Reese, called timeout. He walked over to Robinson
and, with the crowds looking on, put his arm around his friend's shoulder. The
fans grew quiet. Robinson later said that arm around his shoulder saved his
career. Jackie Robinson eventually went on to become one of baseball's all-time
An arm around his shoulder made the difference. It said to the crowd and anyone
who cared to notice, "We are one."
Though we have made headway, race still divides us. As does religion and
politics and ideologies. And, though we are learning better how to "put our
arms" around people who are different, our global community is not yet unified.
It's been said, "There is just enough room in the world for all the people in
it, but there is no room for the fences which separate them."
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