CAIRO, Georgia — The Georgia Historical Society, in partnership with Major League Baseball and the Jackie Robinson Cairo Memorial Institute, Inc., on Friday dedicated the historical marker of Jackie Robinson’s birthplace at the Roddenbery Memorial Library in Cairo, Georgia.
This historical marker replaces one at Jackie Robinson’s birthplace that was damaged by gunfire in 2021.
Prior to the public dedication, a private unveiling was held at the new, double historical marker at the site of Robinson’s birthplace.
“The Georgia Historical Society and the people of this state are deeply grateful to Major League Baseball and Commissioner Rob Manfred for their support in the redevelopment and long-term care of this important historical monument,” said GHS President and CEO W. Todd Groce. “Because of her timely and invaluable help, Georgia native Jackie Robinson’s inspirational story and enduring legacy will be told and honored for many years to come.”
Jackie Robinson’s Birthplace was established in Grady County, Georgia in 2001 by GHS and the Jackie Robinson Cairo Memorial Institute, Inc. He is part of the Georgia Historical Society’s Civil Rights Trail, an initiative that focuses largely 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 had been damaged by vandals. Major League Baseball, through MLB Charities, supported the replacement of the destroyed marker by making the first donation to the Jackie Robinson Fund, a foundation designed to permanently care for and protect the historic marker.
Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said, “We are grateful for the Georgia Historical Society and their efforts to preserve Jackie Robinson’s Cairo birthplace. We hope that this historic monument will continue to serve as an example of a life of courage and strength for generations of young people.”
The marker reads:
Jackie Robinson Birthplace:
The first African American in modern major league baseball, Robinson was born on January 31, 1919 13 miles south of Cairo before he and his family moved to California in 1920.
After attending UCLA, serving in the US Army, and playing in the Negro American Baseball and International League, Robinson played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, breaking the color barrier of Major League Baseball. In addition to his many athletic achievements, he served as a special assistant to New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, founded the first African American Modern Bank/Freedom National Bank, and provided housing for the underprivileged through his construction company. Robinson died in 1972. The house where he was born burned down in 1996, but the chimney is still standing.
Rebuilt in 2021 by the Georgia Historical Society, Jackie Robinson Cairo Memorial Institute, Inc. and Major League Baseball
Speakers at the event included Mayor Booker Gainor, City of Cairo; Representative Sanford Bishop, 2nd Congressional District of Georgia; Kevin Moss, Major League Baseball’s senior manager of community affairs; Raymond Doswell, vice president and curator of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum; Janet Boudet, director of the Roddenbery Memorial Library; Howard Thrower, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Roddenbery Memorial Library; 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.