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Jackie Robinson to be remembered for accomplishments in baseball, politics (Released: 4/21/97)

by Luis Mocete, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- The life of Jackie Robinson and his influence on politics after baseball is the topic of a lecture to be presented by a University of Connecticut professor who followed the Brooklyn Dodgers as a child growing up in Hanover, Pa.

"I've had two dominant interests in my life," said Steven Wisensale, an associate professor in the School of Family Studies and a member of the Society of American Baseball Research. "One is baseball and the other is politics ... and Jackie Robinson really blends those two well. What most people don't realize is the life he had after baseball. He had a very active political life."

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier, Wisensale will give a lecture and slide presentation titled "The Life and Times of Jackie Robinson: Baseball and Politics," at 4 p.m. April 22 in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center on the Storrs campus.

Robinson got involved in the civil rights movement, started a bank in Harlem and worked on presidential campaigns.

"Jackie really believed that baseball was a vehicle to help make a better world," Wisensale said. "That's what really drew me to him. It was the fact that he saw beyond baseball."