Boys and Girls Club Renamed for Jackie Robinson
The late Jackie Robinson, born in Cairo, Georgia in 1919, broke barriers throughout the world and baseball. His hometown honored the civil rights leader Saturday breaking ground on the Jackie Robinson Boys and Girls Club of Cairo-Grady County.
"Just to know that his history actually began here. I think that going to be something amazing for the kids to know, to take hold of, to research his character," Cairo-native and five-time Olympian Teresa Edwards said.
A star-studded cast was on hand for the ground breaking and ribbon cutting ceremony. The list included Robinson's daughter, Sharon, Congressman Sanford Bishop, the oldest-living Negro League baseball player Roosevelt Jackson and heavyweight boxer Evander Holyfield.
Though, the biggest stars of the day were the kids.
"This is why we do it. They'll gather a lot of discipline, a lot of confidence and a lot of courage to take out in to the world later. Their foundation will be strong just because of the Boys and Girls Club," Edwards said.
Built to shine like the late number 42, the club was renovated on the inside and on the baseball diamond. With the upgraded baseball facilities, the goal is to bring more young people back to baseball.
"The facility is here. It's up to them to take advantage of it. I'd like to see a lot more get out there and start playing the game. You know, give Jackie Robinson something to be proud of," Cairo-native and former MLB infielder Ernest Riles said.
"They want to do baseball, but a lot of them don't understand the game of baseball. Now, with the changing of the name maybe now they'll understand baseball is an important sport," Boys and Girls Club of Cairo youth coordinator Zacharious Gibson said.