Jackie Robinson | SLJ DVD Review

redstarJackie Robinson. 240 min. Dist. by PBS. 2016. DVD $24.99. Blu-Ray $29.99. ISBN 9781627896184. Jackie Robinson DVD

Gr 6 Up –With its in-depth look at the ups and downs of Robinson’s life and career, this wonderful resource lends context to his significant accomplishments. He won acclaim for shattering baseball’s “color line” in 1947, but as this exemplary documentary makes clear, he fought racism throughout his life. An impressive range of commentators share their perspectives, from President Obama to teammates, sports writers, and historians. The Great Depression and World War II shaped Robinson’s early life, with racism an ever-present threat: 21 African Americans were lynched in his home state, Georgia, in 1919, the year he was born. When Robinson’s mother moved her five children to California, they joined six million African Americans who fled the South during the Great Migration. After attending UCLA and enjoying a brief military career and one season in the Negro leagues, Robinson was scouted and signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers. Though he opened doors for other black ballplayers, like him they faced segregated restaurants and hotels and hostile teammates and fans. Later, Robinson worked for the NAACP and lent support to the civil rights movement. His support of Republican candidates drew criticism; many fans began to feel that Robinson was out of step with the times. Wife Rachel observes that Robinson remained fiercely independent and unafraid to speak out up to his untimely death in 1972. There’s an obvious tie-in here for history or social studies lessons, and the DVD will appeal to a wide range of upper-level students. VERDICT This is a wonderful option for sports fans who may be reluctant readers or resistant to more traditional approaches to history and social studies. This excellent film should find a home in most public library collections.–Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA

This review was published in the School Library Journal June 2016 issue.

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