JACKIE ROBINSON -- (Senate - April 15, 2008)
Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier on this day in 1947. He immediately made his mark on the field and off the field, winning the Rookie of the Year Award in 1947 and suffering painful indignities from fans and opposing players with both patience and grace.
As a young man growing up in Louisville, I always took pride in the fact that Pee Wee Reese, a graduate of my high school, had become a Major Leaguer and even the captain of his team, the Brooklyn Dodgers. But I was even more proud of the fact that Pee Wee walked over to Jackie one day when the taunts were especially tough, put his arm on Jackie's back, and sent a message to the fans that Jackie Robinson was no different than anyone else they came to root for that day.
Reflecting on Jackie's courage, a baseball commentator said this week that it is remarkable to note that in all the photographs from those years, Jackie always seemed to be smiling, despite the jeers and taunts and the hatred.
We honor Jackie Robinson today for his courage and his example and for accelerating the march toward equality for all Americans.