By Victoria Merlino
In honor of groundbreaking baseball player Jackie Robinson’s 100th Birthday, Astoria’s Our World Neighborhood Charter School hosted an assembly for students on Friday focused on Robinson’s life and historical influence.
“We know him a lot as a baseball player, but he was so much more than that,” said Glenn Roth, a special education teacher who planned the assembly.
Jackie Robinson famously broke barriers as the first African-American player in the modern MLB. He was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers and made his first appearance with the ballclub in 1947, becoming National League Rookie of the Year and eventually earning induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. Beyond baseball, Robinson was in the army, an activist, and had a home with his family in St. Albans. He was also a standout track star and football player in college.
New York City honors Robinson’s impact various ways. The Jackie Robinson Parkway courses through Queens and Brooklyn, and the Jackie Robinson Rotunda serves as the entrance to Citi Field in Flushing.
“One reason we wanted to have a Jackie Robinson assembly was [it was] a way to unite the students, create that sense of community,” Roth said. “And we do have a diverse population, and we felt that Jackie Robinson was one of those historic figures that could bring our community together.”
The school invited Ivo Philbert, vice president of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, to speak about Robinson’s life. He also discussed the foundation’s work on a Jackie Robinson museum in Manhattan, which is set to open this year.
Roth hopes that students would take something away from the assembly and share it with other people in their lives.
“I hope that they’ll go to someone that they’re friends with or their family and teach them something new about Jackie Robinson that they learned today,” Roth said.