Activist Faith

Activist Faith


Faith Changes Society: The Example of Jackie Robinson

posted by Dillon Burroughs

A recent CNN story tells an little-known tale of a minister who played a significant role in bringing Jackie Robinson to the Dodgers, shattering Major League Baseball’s color barrier in the process.

As I mention in my book Undefending Christianity, Christian faith is a major factor that has shaped many positive changes taking place regarding issues of race, but there are too few “good stories” to share. This is one of them. Be inspired. Be changed. Faith changes society.

+++

Fifield, who was pastor of the Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims in Brooklyn in the 1940s, counted Rickey, then general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, as one of his parishioners.

A century earlier, that church had played a part in American history through its first pastor and anti-slavery activist, Henry Ward Beecher, and his connections to the fabled “underground railroad,” the secretive network that helped escaped slaves flee safely to northern states and to Canada.

Fifield’s historical footnote of faith was more passive. In a paper titled “Branch Rickey’s ‘Day of Decision’,” June Fifield wrote about a visit Rickey paid to her husband’s office at the church just before his decision to sign Robinson.

“Don’t let me interrupt, I can’t talk with you,” Rickey said as he walked into the minister’s office, according to the paper. “I just want to be here. Do you mind?”

The two men passed the time without words – the minister going about his work; Richey frenetically pacing the floor, stopping only occasionally to peer out the window on the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood that surrounded the church.

Amid ongoing silence, more pacing, more stopping, more pacing, more stopping from Rickey for some 45 minutes, according to the article.

Finally, Rickey didn’t just break the silence, he shattered it.

“I’ve got it,” Rickey yelled emphatically as he banged his fist on the desk.

“Got what, Branch?” Fifield asked. “Wendell,” Rickey said, “I’ve decided to sign Jackie Robinson!”

+++

DILLON BURROUGHS is an author, activist, and co-founder of Activist Faith. Dillon served in Haiti following the epic 2010 earthquake and has investigated modern slavery in the US and internationally. His books include Undefending Christianity, Not in My Town (with Charles J. Powell), and Thirst No More. Discover more at ActivistFaith.org.



Advertisement
Comments Post the First Comment »
post a comment

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

Transitions at Activist Faith
After more than 1,000 posts over the past three years and now a book, Activist Faith has been a huge part of my life. More than I could have ever imagined, Activist Faith has allowed the opportunity to connect with faith-based leaders and activists around the world, including you, who are making cha

posted 1:21:15pm Sep. 03, 2013 | read full post »

The Intentional Activist
Great new post ActivistFaith.org post from Relevant Hope founder and friend Jimmy Turner. Be intentional! -Dillon +++ Most towns have many organizations that help people living outside. Chattanooga, TN, for instance, has two rescue missions, a community kitchen, homeless healthcare cen

posted 9:38:04am Aug. 30, 2013 | read full post »

Save the Girls!
It's an unbelievable claim: 163 millions female babies aborted by women seeking sons. This is the information shared in Mara Hvistendahl's book Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls and the Consequences in a World Full of Men. But even if she's off by even ten or twenty percent, the headl

posted 11:22:07am Aug. 26, 2013 | read full post »

Crafts that Change the World
[Guest post by Activist Faith co-founder Daniel Darling, minister, author, and speaker, and friend, interviewing WorldCrafts president and New Hope CEO Dr. Andrea Mullins. Worldcrafts is a Christian fair-trade artisan group based in Birmingham, AL.] I have found Andrea to be a wonderful friend, s

posted 11:19:05am Aug. 25, 2013 | read full post »

The Right Kind of Activism
I once spoke with a group of college students about modern slavery and human trafficking in America. After my presentation, a friend of mine asked how it turned out. I told him, "The women were all ready to start aftercare centers for trafficking victims and the guys were all ready to blow something

posted 11:16:51am Aug. 23, 2013 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.