70 years ago today when Jackie Robinson broke the color line at Red Wings Stadium

70 years ago today when Jackie Robinson broke the color line at Red Wings Stadium

[Jackie Robinson commemorative postcard with stamp. Eugene Kramer’s 85th birthday gift from Yankee Clipper in the Village Gate [Courtesy: Eugene] from Local philatelist faults Talker’s Edgerton Park hoopla. Et tu,Tucker?” ]

70 years ago today, Jackie Robinson became the first African-American minor leaguer to play in Rochester. That night, the injured Robinson took infield practice before a near-record crowd of 13,386.

In 2008, I wrote essays about the event: one for About Time Magazine and a shorter one for Black History Month for the Democrat and Chronicle. (BELOW).

In both essays, I speculated, “Most likely, Jackie did not stay in the same hotel as his white Montreal teammates.”  Since then I learned where Jackie did stay. Walt Williams, security guard at the Rochester Public Library, was a teen when Jackie was in Rochester. Walt remembers meeting Jackie at the downtown YMCA.  Walt recalls Jackie chatting informally with a small gathering of African-American boys. We both lamented, if only you had gotten his autograph!

Four years after Jackie’s infield practice, Rochester saw another historic first. On Halloween, 1950 at Edgerton Park Arena, Earl Lloyd, playing for the Washington Capitols, became the first African-American to play in the National Basketball Association. In both cases — 1946 and 1950 — Rochesterians treated the visitors with grace.about-time

Jackie_Robinson d and c

February 18th, 2008, Democrat and Chronicle


65 years ago today at Edgerton Park Arena when the NBA color line was first broken. And Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in Rochester; summer of ’46

NY Times asks for help with “A Jackie Robinson Mystery.” Well, Eugene Kramer was there. (Almost)

About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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