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DC celebrates Emancipation Day, MLB players wear 42

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Today the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.) celebrates its ninth year of Emancipation Day. This is the 152nd year that President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves in the District; months before the president’s full issue of the Emancipation Proclamation taking place on January 1, 1863. While this may be something to celebrate, it causes ire when D.C.’s neighbors, Maryland and Virginia, were still slave holding states.

Nevertheless, the celebration continues with the D.C. government closed and schools were out for students. The festivities include a parade of marching bands, branches of the Armed Forces, balloon floats and community organizations. A concert at 4 p.m. will feature entertainers and rappers Talib Kweli, MC Lyte, Arrested Development, Raheem DeVaughn, DJ Kool, Doug E Fresh, J Ivy and the Black Alley Band. At 8:30 p.m. there will be a fireworks display. Both events will be at Freedom Plaza. A wreath laying ceremony took place at 9:00 a.m. at the African American Civil War Memorial, located at 1925 Vermont Avenue NW.

Before the celebration took off, there were some issues about shortage of funds. WUSA9 Bruce Johnson interviewed D.C. Councilman Vincent Orange during its noon broadcast about the controversy. Orange stated he came up with the idea of celebrating Emancipation Day and wants it to continue. Johnson wanted to know if there was any beef between him and Mayor Vincent Gray in which Orange flatly denied, stating that he hoped it would continue if (Muriel) Bowser becomes mayor.

Freedom Plaza is located at 1455 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. Due to streets being blocked off, the subway station stop Metro Center is the best way to get there. All events are free, no tickets are needed for the concert.

Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy sends his commentary about DC’s Emancipation Day. Read his insightful article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/a-real-emancipation-day-in-dc-would-...

Jackie Robinson Day

Major League Baseball (MLB) celebrated the iconic baseball player Jackie Robinson on April 15. The talented player and great athlete broke the color barrier in the MLB, wearing the number 42. Robinson took a lot of hardships being the first black man in the MLB; examples being putting up with animosity from his team players and baseball audiences barking racial epithets and slurs. He played with the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1947 to 1956 and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. Jackie Robinson Day first started on April 15, 2004.

Robinson’s life story has been played in both televisions and film. The 1950 film “The Jackie Robinson Story” he played himself. Actress Ruby Dee played his wife Rae Robinson. The 2013 movie “42” which starred Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson, Nicole Beharie as Rachel Isum Robinson and Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey (the man responsible for signing Jackie Robinson into the MLB) was a baseball movie hit. According to Wikipedia’s references, “The film earned an estimated $27.3 million for its opening weekend, the best premiere for a baseball-themed film in Hollywood history.”

Jackie Robinson's widow, Rachel Robinson, was involved in the production of the film and has praised the end result, saying, "It was important to me because I wanted it to be an authentic piece. I wanted to get it right. I didn’t want them to make him an angry black man or some stereotype, so it was important for me to be in there . . . I love the movie. I’m pleased with it. It’s authentic and it’s also very powerful."

Of the three major sports in America which blacks participate, baseball seems to be on the decline for future African American players. This decline has been a priority for baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and he is investigating the problem.

Due to the powerful rainstorm that was on the eastern seaboard last evening that cancelled some games, eight baseball teams wore the number 42 today. The teams are Tampa Bay at Baltimore, Chicago at New York (Yankees), Atlanta at Philadelphia and Cleveland at Detroit.

Espn.go.com yesterday wrote an article called “MLB marks Jackie Robinson Day” in which the piece describes Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon –

Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon, who is black, says some of this generation's players don't know of Robinson's accomplishments.

"They don't know a lot about the history, and I don't really blame it all on them. I think their generation is a generation that was force-fed these things," he said, holding up a smartphone. "Everything's now. Not much of an appreciation for the past and what it meant, particularly when it comes to baseball and baseball players. The paths that were paved for them, I don't think they really get it, or really understand it."

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