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Witchita residents still trying to find out if the Jackie Robinson 'statue burning' is hate related

By Black Headline News

WITCHITA, Kan.--At the end of January, after midnight, a full-sized Jackie Robinson statue was stolen from McAdams Park in Wichita, Kansas. The iconic statue unveiled to the public in 2021 by a local youth, baseball team called League 42, was cut off at the ankles, leaving Robinson's "bronze statue shoes" in the base of the statue.

A few days later the police said they received reports of a nearby-fire in a trash can at a different park several miles away. Once they reached the scene of the burning trashcan, they found burned pieces of the statue

League 42, named in honor of the great Jackie Robinson, is a youth baseball league, comprised primarily of inner-city players, ages 5 to 14, many of whom have not had the opportunity to play baseball before.

McAdams Park is home to the League, where they practice and play games.

In April 2021, League 42 installed a life-sized Jackie Robinson statue, sculpted by John Parsons, at McAdams Park to honor, Robinson, who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball, signaling an end to segregation in the League. In 1962, he was admitted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

According to the Kansas Reflector, Robinson, who was born in Georgia, previously played for the Kansas City Monarchs, among the most famous of the Negro League teams. After his stint with the Monarchs, Robinson was the first Black player with the Montreal Royals, a Dodgers farm team. He was promoted to the Dodgers on April 15, 1947.

Even before he shattered the baseball color line, Robinson had been an activist. Robinson had served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was court-martialed (but exonerated) for failing to give up his seat and move to the back of a segregated military bus.

In Wichita, as with the rest of the country, baseball became a national obsession during the 20th Century, and Black teams have been an important part of the city’s history. On June 21, 1925, the Monrovians — a Black semi-pro team — played the Ku Klux Klan at Island Stadium.

According to the Kansas Reflector, this story is different because has provoked not just outrage, but a lingering concern that the statue was stolen not to be melted down for its metal,but instead to make a statement. The theft was from a park in a historic Black neighborhood, one split down the middle by the construction of Interstate 135 in the 1970s. The crime also occurred a few days before what would have been Robinson’s 105th birthday, Jan. 31, and close to the start of Black History Month, which began Feb. 1.


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