Cavs and Students "Swing" by Progressive Field for Black History Lesson on Baseball Legend Jackie Robinson

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Dion Waiters

As part of the Cavaliers’ annual Black Heritage Celebration and in honor of Black History Month, the team embarked on a “Continuing the Dream” tour to educate Cleveland youth on historic African-American figures and inspire them to follow their dreams.

The first stop on the tour took students back in time to celebrate baseball legend Jackie Robinson, who became the first African-American to break the baseball color barrier in 1947. Cavs guard Dion Waiters hosted students from the Cleveland Baseball Federation in the Visitors Clubhouse at Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians, to view the 2013 film “42.” The setting was fitting, as in July 1947, Indians outfielder Larry Doby, became the first African-American to play in the American League, with the Indians. “42” tells the story of Robinson’s life, career in professional baseball and his battles with racism, endured by Doby and other African-Americans of their generation as well. The students watched the film and enjoyed theater-style snacks at the ballpark.

The date of the event marked the 52nd anniversary of Jackie Robinson becoming the first African-American executive of a major TV station when he accepted the Director of Communications position with NBC on February 4th, 1962. To celebrate the milestone, Cleveland NBC-affiliate broadcaster Russ Mitchell spoke with the students about his career in broadcast and share his experiences.

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