SAVANNAH, GA, January 28, 2022 – The Georgia Historical Society, in conjunction with Major League Baseball and the Jackie Robinson Cairo Memorial Institute, Inc., dedicated the Birthplace of Jackie Robinson historical marker at the Roddenbery Memorial Library in Cairo, Georgia. This historical marker replaces one located at Jackie Robinson’s birthplace damaged by gunfire in 2021. A private unveiling at the new, duplicate historical marker at the site of the Robinson birthplace took place preceding the public dedication.
“The Georgia Historical Society and the people of this state are deeply grateful to Major League Baseball and Commissioner Rob Manfred for supporting the recasting and long-term care of this important historical marker,” said GHS President and CEO W. Todd Groce. “Because of their timely and invaluable help, the inspiring story and lasting legacy of Georgia native Jackie Robinson will continue to be told and honored for many years to come.”
The Birthplace of Jackie Robinson historical marker was erected in 2001 in Grady County, Georgia, by GHS and the Jackie Robinson Cairo Memorial Institute, Inc. It is part of the Georgia Historical Society’s Civil Rights Trail, an initiative that focuses broadly on the economic, social, political, and cultural history of the Civil Rights Movement. In February 2021, it was reported to police that the historical marker was damaged by vandals. Major League Baseball, through MLB Charities, assisted with the replacement of the vandalized marker by making the inaugural donation to the Jackie Robinson Fund, an endowment to provide perpetual care and protection for the historical marker.
Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said: “We are grateful for the Georgia Historical Society and their efforts to preserve the birthplace marker of Jackie Robinson in Cairo. We hope this historic monument will continue to serve as an example of a life filled with courage and strength for generations of young people.”
Speakers for the event included Mayor Booker Gainor, City of Cairo; Representative Sanford Bishop, 2nd Congressional District of Georgia; Kevin Moss, Senior Manager of Community Affairs of Major League Baseball; Raymond Doswell, Vice President and Curator at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum;; Janet Boudet, Director of the Roddenbery Memorial Library; Howard Thrower, Chairman of the Roddenbery Memorial Library Board of Trustees; Dr. Linda Walden, relative of Jackie Robinson and founder of the Jackie Robinson Cairo Memorial Institute; and Dr. W. Todd Groce, President and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society.
The Marker Reads:
Birthplace of Jackie Robinson:
First African American in Modern-Day Major League Baseball
Robinson was born 13 miles south of Cairo on January 31, 1919, before he and his family moved to California in 1920. After attending U.C.L.A., serving in the U.S. Army, and playing in the Negro American Baseball and International Leagues, Robinson played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier. Adding to his many athletic accomplishments, he served as special assistant to New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, established the first African American Modern Bank/Freedom National Bank, and provided housing for the underprivileged through his construction firm. Robinson died in 1972. His birthplace burned in 1996, but the chimney still stands.
Re-erected in 2021 by the Georgia Historical Society, The Jackie Robinson Cairo Memorial Institute, Inc., and Major League Baseball
ABOUT THE GEORGIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Georgia Historical Society (GHS) is the premier independent statewide institution responsible for collecting, examining, and teaching Georgia history. GHS houses the oldest and most distinguished collection of materials related exclusively to Georgia history in the nation.
To learn more visit georgiahistory.com.
ABOUT THE GEORGIA HISTORICAL MARKER PROGRAM
The Georgia Historical Society (GHS) administers Georgia’s historical marker program. Over the past 20 years, GHS has erected nearly 300 new historical markers across the state on a wide variety of subjects. GHS also coordinates the maintenance for more than 2,100 markers installed by the State of Georgia prior to 1998. Online mapping tools allow users to design driving routes based on historical markers, and a mobile app helps visitors locate and learn about markers nearby. Visit georgiahistory.com for more ways to use Georgia’s historical markers and experience history where it happened.
ABOUT THE GEORGIA CIVIL RIGHTS TRAIL
As part of the ongoing work of the Georgia Historical Marker Program to recognize the rich diversity of our state’s past, GHS’s Georgia Civil Rights Trail (CRT) initiative focuses broadly on the economic, social, political and cultural history of the Civil Rights Movement. Recognizing that the struggle for civil and human rights began long before the mid-twentieth-century Movement, the Civil Rights Trail includes historical markers that explore stories from Reconstruction through the late twentieth century.