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Testing the Ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson at The Carle Museum

Testing the Ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson
Testing the Ice by Sharon Robinson, an educational consultant for Major League Baseball and vice chairman of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and illustrated by the award-winning Kadir Nelson, is a story about her father, baseball legend Jackie Robinson. The original art for the book as well as numerous preliminary sketches will be on view in the museum’s Central Gallery from December 13, 2011 until May 6, 2012. It will complement the art, also by Nelson, for We Are the Ship, a history of the Negro Leagues, which will be in the East Gallery from February 7 until June 10, 2012.

On April 15, 1947, Robinson took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers and became the first African-American man to play in major league baseball. In 1962, he became the first African-American to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. But this is not that story. Daughter Sharon Robinson’s story is about an incident that happened in her family after her father retired from baseball. There was a pond behind the house in Stamford Connecticut where the Robinson family moved in 1955. The children wanted to ice skate, and Jackie wanted to be sure the ice was thick enough. One of the very few things he couldn’t do was swim, but that didn’t deter him from making sure his children and their friends would be safe. He went out on the ice, knowing it could have dire consequences. This selfless act illustrates his bravery in his personal life rather than his professional life.

“He was brave when he went out on the ice and he was brave when he went on the baseball field,” Nelson said. “My role is really like a documentarian and an author. I shed light on pieces of history that don’t always get as much attention as they deserve.” In an interview about the book, Nelson said, “You don’t want to say something that has already been said; you want to add something to the story.”

On April 1, 2012, the museum will host a conversation with Sharon Robinson, Kadir Nelson, and NPR’s Scott Simon, who has written a biography of Jackie Robinson.

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