Torn Jackie Robinson painting symbolizes what he and others represented, NLBM says

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) — Jackie Robinson’s story is well documented at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Unfortunately, a new painting of Robinson arrived torn.

They say art imitates life. Don Newcombe shared a story about him, Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King, Jr. Dave Hobrecht turned that story into art.

“We added a section called all-time moments and that’s what this is, it’s grace,” Hobrecht said.

But when the painting arrived at the Negro League Museum there was a tear at the bottom all the way across. The museum chose to keep it as is. It described the unbreakable spirit

“It was a perfect metaphor for what Jackie Robinson represented and what the athletes of the Negro Leagues represented,” Negro Leagues Baseball Museum President Bob Kendrick said.

“He just gets you to think different and we just said let’s flip it, let’s figure out what to do now and that’s what we did,” Hobrecht said.

Every detail was important. Nicks were cleaned up; a white board was put behind to show the rip more and not to crop.  

“I wanted you to be able to notice these chairs are not all matching, which was so typical in so many Black homes. You had a dining room table and had all four chairs, but they didn’t all match,” Kendrick said.

Four key figures in the legacy of this country.  

“It was actually the beginning of the civil rights movement in this country and that comes into full view in this amazing work of art,” Kendrick said.

And the legacy Jackie Robinson has today, as every Major League player wears #42.

“As they were blazing their pathway into Major League Baseball, they were essentially carrying their race of people on their shoulders,” Kendrick said.

Through a painting, we learn struggle. But we learn grace.

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