Bill Keefe, a racist sportswriter from New Orleans, once said of Jackie Robinson that he was “the most harmful influence the Negro race has suffered in the attempt to give the Negro nationwide recognition in the sports field.”
Why this ire? Robinson dared to speak truth to power. The American icon had recently used his platform to call for the complete integration of the South. This set Keefe off. He looked at an activist athlete like Robinson as a problem. Success within baseball was not enough for Robinson. He understood that he was not free until every black person had freedom, and so he attacked racism on and off of the field.