East Texas kids get to live the Jackie Robinson story

By Holley Nees - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Jackie Robinson came to life Friday on the stage for hundreds of East Texas students. The Dallas Children's Theater brought the historical Brooklyn Dodgers player to the Temple Theater so kids could take a trip back in time.

Friday history repeated itself.

"This is just not African American history, this is our history, this is American history and it is something not to be forgotten and to be cherished," said Rick Spivey who played the role of Jackie Robinson.

For Rick Spivey playing the role of Jackie Robinson was the perfect marriage of his love for African American History and acting.

"I just was very honored and humbled to play such a remarkable man," said Spivey.

However, the first African American Major League Baseball player inspired more than one actor.

"I think quite often we only see him as one of the first blacks to play Major League Baseball, but he was far beyond that," said Lufkin ISD Recruiter Joe Deason.  "He was an educator. Jackie Robinson was certainly a man of very, very high integrity."

A baseball player himself in his younger years, Deason said Robinson's legacy went beyond the baseball diamond and Friday hundreds of kids realized that.

"No matter who you are, what you wear, you can do anything you want," said Cushing fourth grade student Alyssa Lucas.

"It was very empowering and it was inspirational," said Cushing fifth grade student Claire Simmons.

"It makes me know that if you want to do something in life you can do it," explained Cushing fifth grade student Chris Harrell.

It's exactly the lesson Spivey wanted his audience to learn from the historical Brooklyn Dodgers player.

"The fact that we can all sit together and watch this show is a testament, in my opinion, to what this man had to go through," said Spivey.

While some racial barriers seem to have gone away, there are still hurdles to overcome.

"If we're training a generation to believe things are always going to be fair, we're setting them up for failure," said Deason.

Friday the students at Temple Theater learned about one man's ability to change the playing field.

Spivey said the evidence of Robinson's mark on the world is still evident today in sports as well as politics.

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