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OUR VIEW: Film shows how Robinson leveled the playing field

Sixty-six years ago this week, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier that existed in Major League Baseball. Some say it was the real beginning of racial equality in the United States, culminating with the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. It's hard to disagree.

The movie "42" is playing this week at Luxury 5 Cinemas in Mitchell, and considering the crowds that have been flocking to see the picture, it likely will be around for at least another week.

We think that's great. The more people who see the glorious -- yet sad -- plight of Robinson, the better.

For those who don't follow baseball or movies, Robinson was brought up to the major leagues by the Brooklyn Dodgers for the start of the 1947 season.

Although some blacks had played baseball at the end of the prior century, a color barrier existed for five or six decades prior to Robinson's appearance that year with the Dodgers.

It sounds like a happy story, and it was to some extent. Robinson's appearance in a major-league uniform finally put to rest a terrible era, and showed America that if blacks are equal on the playing field, they sure as heck are equal everywhere else in American life.

But Robinson was tormented early in his career, and especially that first season.

Early on, members of his own team signed a petition in hopes of keeping Robinson off the squad. Some opposing teams threatened to boycott if blacks were allowed into the league. Many fans and opposing players showed an animalistic cruelty toward Robinson.

We urge readers to see the movie "42." We don't consider it a movie about baseball, but instead a documentation of a terrible chapter in American life.

Only 66 years ago, segregation was an accepted practice in the United States. Blacks were still considered by many to be lesser beings.

It's as dumbfounding as it is shameful.

Thank God for Jackie Robinson, not just for having the guts to play baseball in such a trying time, but also for having the courage to help show America the error of its ways.