Number 42: Steel Polishes Steel
Sixty seven years ago this week on April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson played his first game in Ebbets Field for the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first black player to compete in the major leagues.
Though his career was relatively short, spanning just a decade with the Dodgers, Robinson’s impact is still being felt today.
Unbeknownst to many, he made many advancements of civil rights for black citizens and athletes before and during his playing days.
Before playing in the major leagues Robinson served as a second lieutenant in the United States Army from 1942 to 1944; however he never saw combat.
During boot camp in 1944 in Fort Hood, TX, Robinson was arrested and court-martialed after refusing to give up his seat and move to the back of a segregated bus when ordered to by the driver. He was ultimately acquitted of the charges and received an honorable discharge. However, this act and his moral objection to segregation were precursors to the impact Robinson would have throughout his life.
Throughout my career in technology, I have typically found myself as one of the few people of color in most professional environments.
Yet the opportunity to compete is one that was fought for by my parents, grandparents, and those before them, to whom I will forever be grateful.
The technology sector has always been one of the most even playing fields in business and one that has always been receptive to winners with much less regard to race, creed or color than other fields.
Let us celebrate the barrier that Jackie Robinson broke and regale in the promise of diversity in technology. The United States is a nation of immigrants, pioneers, and creativity. This country will only be as strong as we allow it. Steel polishes steel; success begets success.
This week is dedicated to competitors and to the memory of Jackie Robinson for reminding us that dreams need not always be deferred.