Drew University calls "Batter Up" for a free symposium on Race, Faith and Baseball that is open to the public this Friday, April 12.  Sixty-five years ago, Jackie Robinson became the first African-American in the modern era to play Major League Baseball.  His breaking of the color barrier in American sports became a watershed event in the struggle for equal rights.  But, few people know that Robinson’s efforts to challenge racism and prejudice extended beyond the baseball field and continued after his playing career ended.

In 2009, a rare copy of a television program hosted by Robinson on the subject of faith, race and business ethics surfaced at Drew University in the collections of the United Methodist Archives and History Center.  As a part of the annual Arts of Respect Festival, a program titled The Sports of Respect: Race, Faith and Baseball will be hosted by  the Methodist Archives, Drew Athletics and the Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict.  Jonathan Golden Assoc. Director of the Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict says, "The focus of this conference reflects the commitment of the Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict at Drew to understanding conflict involving faith and race anywhere.  The story of Jackie Robinson is an American baseball story.  At the same time, it carries the universal themes that are critical to the work of the Center on Religion Culture and Conflict."

This one-day conference is open to the public at no charge.  The program will begin at 10:00 a.m. on April 12, with registration beginning at 9:30 a.m.  Conference events will held in Drew’s Ehinger Center in Crawford Hall.  For more information, please contact Anderson at cjanders@drew.edu or visit www.drew.edu/CRCC.

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The lineup of the day's events includes (subject to change):

 9:30 a.m.       Registration

10 a.m.   Welcome and Introductions

Dr. Vivian Bull, President, Drew University

Leading Off  

                               Dr. Jonathan Golden, Associate Director, Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict, Drew University

10:15 a.m.    “ʽHello, I’m Jackie Robinson, Your Host on Talk Back’:

Discovering a Baseball Icon in a Church Archive”

Dr. Christopher J. Anderson

Methodist Librarian and Coordinator of Special Collections, Drew University

 11 a.m. “Yogi Berra: The Man, the Myth, the American Dream”

Mr. David Kaplan

Director, Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center, Montclair State University

 Noon    Lunch @ Ehinger Center Café or Drew Commons Cafeteria

1 p.m.   "Diamond Shadows: The Lost History of African American Baseball"

Mr. James Gates

Library Director, National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum, Cooperstown, NY

2 p.m.    “Baseball as a Road to God”

Dr. John Sexton

President, New York University, Author of Baseball as a Road to God (2013)

               (Book available for purchase with book-signing by Dr. Sexton)