The long-awaited Jackie Robinson Museum has finally opened in Manhattan.
After 14 years of being under construction, the museum opened its doors on Tuesday with a gala ceremony to honor the late Jackie Robinson, the Associated Press reported.
Robinson was the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball and helped change the trajectory for Black athletes across the nation. On October 25, 1972, Robinson died from a heart attack at the age of 53.
On April 15, 2008, which marked the 61st anniversary of Robinson’s big break when he was signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers, his wife Rachel announced the development of the Jackie Robinson Museum, ABC News reported.
However, due to the Great Recession and COVID-19 there were major delays in the project.
After raising nearly $40 million dollars, the Jackie Robinson Foundation was able to complete the center.
According to the Associated Press, Della Britton, the foundation’s president said, “We want to be that place, as young people now say, a safe space, where people will talk about race and not worry about the initial backlash that happens when you say something on social media.”
On Tuesday, Rachel attended the museum’s grand opening and was accompanied by her two children Sharon and David.
While speaking to a crowd David said, “The issues in baseball, the issues that Jackie Robinson challenged in 1947, they’re still with us.”
He continued, “The signs of white only have been taken down, but the complexity of equal opportunity still exists.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams attended the event and praised the legendary baseball player for his achievements.
“There’s nowhere on the globe where dream is attached to our name—or our country’s name. There’s not a German dream. There’s not a French dream. There’s not a Polish dream. Darn it, there’s an American dream,” he declared. “This man and wife took that dream and forced America and baseball to say you’re not going to be a dream on a piece of paper, you’re going to be a dream in life. We are greater because of No. 42 and because he had amazing wife that understood that dream and vision.”
Former baseball pitcher Carsten Charles Sabathia Jr. attended the gala dinner and said, “Without him, there would be no me.”
He added, “I wouldn’t have been able to live out my dream of playing Major League Baseball.”
Former tennis player Billie Jean King attended the day’s events and said that Robinson “Was a great reminder every single morning, every single evening that we have to do the right thing every day.”