NO ROOM FOR FENCES
You may know that Jackie Robinson was one of the first African
Americans to play major league baseball. In his first season with the
Brooklyn Dodgers, Robinson faced hostility nearly everywhere he
traveled because of his race. Pitchers threw fastballs at his head.
Runners spiked him on the bases. Brutal epithets were written on cards
and shouted by players in the opposing dugouts. Even the home crowds
in Brooklyn saw him as an object of reproach.
During one game in Boston, the taunts and racial slurs seemed to reach
a peak. To make matters worse, Robinson committed an error and stood
at second base humiliated while fans hurled insults at him. Another
Dodger, a Southern white man by the name of “Pee Wee” Reese, called
timeout. He walked over to Robinson and, with the crowds looking on,
put his arm around his friend’s shoulder. The fans grew quiet.
Robinson later said that arm around his shoulder saved his career.
Jackie Robinson eventually went on to become one of baseball’s
An arm around his shoulder made the difference. It said to the crowd
and anyone who cared to notice, “We are one.”
Though we have made headway, race still divides us. As does religion
and politics and ideologies. And, though we are learning better how to
“put our arms” around people who are different, our global community
is not yet unified.
It’s been said, “There is just enough room in the world for all the
people in it, but there is no room for the fences which separate
This reading can be found in Steve Goodier’s book:
PRESCRIPTION FOR PEACE
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