by michelle-lee : A Montreal duplex where Jackie Robinson and his wife lived while he pursued his goal to become a major league baseball player – the first Black man to do so – is being officially recognized by the U.S. government in an event timed to coincide with Black History Month.
A new chapter in American civil-rights history was celebrated February 28th when U.S. diplomats unveiled a commemorative plaque at the apartment Robinson and his wife Rachel called home in the summer of 1946. The event was attended by David Jacobson, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, Montreal’s mayor Gerald Tremblay, Lee McClenny, the U.S. Consul General in Montreal, Minister of Education, Leisure and Sport, Line Beauchamp and Robinson’s daughter Sharon Robinson. Robinson’s widow, 88, was unable to attend the ceremony but sent a letter expressing her gratitude for the treatment the couple received in Montreal. “The people were so welcoming and saw Jack as a player and as a man,” she said.
The home at 8232 de Gaspe Avenue, is located only a short walk from what formerly was Jarry Park Stadium where the Expos, Canada’s first major league team, played from 1969 to 1976. The plague on the outside and right of the front entrance of the ground floor reads (in both English and French):
“Hall of Fame baseball legend and civil rights leader Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson and wife, Rachel, lived in this house when he played with the Montreal Royals in the Class AAA International League in 1946. The first black Major League Baseball player in the modern era, Robinson became a powerful symbol of hope an inspiration to millions with his grace, dignity and determination.”
Robinson played 10 seasons in the majors, all with Brooklyn. He led the Dodgers to six pennants. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, his first year of eligibility, becoming the first African-American player to receive the honor. Included among his other accomplishments: he was selected an all-star six times, MLB Rookie of the year in 1947, National League MVP in 1949 and World Series champion in 1955. He died Oct. 24, 1972 from complications brought on by heart disease and diabetes.