All across America today, last minute taxpayers are compiling financial records and preparing to file a return or request an extension. Simultaneously, American baseball stadiums are celebrating Jackie Robinson Day, an annual event to commemorate April 15, 1947 when this courageous player, No. 42, broke the color line and became the first black player in the major leagues.

Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin writes admiringly about Robinson, who would have been 100 this year, in her memoir Wait Till Next Year, about her love of family and baseball. Robinson was “a fabulous player” and only later did she realize the impact he had not only on baseball but on the world…he became a civil rights hero as well.”

Philosopher Cornel West, in an introduction to Robinson’s autobiography, I Never Had It Made, writes that Robinson “personified the challenge to a vicious legacy” and one online publication, OZY, has suggested that every April 15, all Americans should have the day off to filed their tax returns, turn on a baseball game and celebrated that spring day in 1947… that changed his country forever.”  With or without a national holiday, this is an important milestone in the nation’s history.

Andrea L. Taylor