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"The Jackie Robinson Story": Turning the Other Cheek

The Jackie Robinson Story is the 1950 movie about the life, challenges, and achievements of baseball star Jackie Robinson. With the help and vision of Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey, he broke the professional baseball color barrier. Starring Jackie Robinson as himself, the movie depicts the prejudice and hatred Robinson had to endure and the depth of patience, courage, and self-control he displayed in the face of relentless adversity.

The clip begins in Branch Rickey's office. It is their first meeting. Rickey surprises Robinson by telling him he wants Robinson to try out for his team and possibly become the first black player in the major leagues.

Rickey asks, "What do you think, Jackie? Do you got guts enough to play the game no matter what happens? They'll shout insults at you. They'll come into you spikes first. They'll throw at your head."

"They've been throwing at my head for a long time, Mr. Rickey," Robinson responds.

Rickey fabricates a scenario: "Suppose I'm a player on the eve of an important game. Suppose I collide with you at second base, and when I get up I say, 'You, you dirty black so-and-so.' What do you do?"

"Mr. Rickey, do you want a ballplayer who's afraid to fight back?" Robinson asks.

Rickey answers emphatically, "I want a ballplayer with guts enough not to fight back. You've got to do the job with base hits, stolen bases, and fielding ground balls, Jackie. Nothing else. Now, I'm playing you in the World Series, and I'm hotheaded. I want to win the game. So I go into you spikes first. You jab the ball in my ribs and the umpire says 'out'. All I can see is your black face, that black face right over me. So I haul off and punch you right in the cheek. What do you do?"

Robinson calmly thinks for a moment, then answers, "Mr. Rickey, I've got two cheeks."

Rickey is very happy with his answer. He briefly discusses the contract with Robinson. As Robinson is about to leave, Rickey tells him, "Remember one thing. No matter what happens on the ball field, you can't fight back. That's going to be the hard part. You can't fight back."

Robinson does turn the other cheek and becomes a model of courage and humility.

Elapsed time: Measured from the beginning of the opening credit, this scene begins at 00:24:14 and ends at 00:25:55.

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