Our oldest son's book club is currently reading In The Year Of The Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord. We will finish the book at our next meeting. It's been a great read and we've learned quite a bit along the way.
This past week we focused on milestones in the history of black Americans. We created a timeline beginning in 1619 when the first slave ships arrived in America and ended in 2009, when the first black American was elected president. There were quite a few interesting facts along the way that I hope the kids internalized. So many advancements have been made just in my lifetime, which is amazing.
So far my favorite speech from the book came from the main character's teacher. She shared with the kids how anything is possible in America.
"Baseball is not just another sport. America is not just another country..."
"Mrs. Rappaport's speech thrilled Shirley like sunlight and trumpets.
'In our national pastime, each player is a member of a team, but when he comes to bat, he stands alone. One man. Many opportunities. For no matter how far behind, how late in the game, he, by himself, can make a difference. He can change what has been. He can make it a new ball game.
'In the life of our nation, each man is a citizen of the United States, but he has the right to pursue his won happiness. For no matter what his race, religion or creed, be he pauper or president, he has the right to speak his mind, to live as he wishes within the law, to elect our officials and stand for office, to excel. To make a difference. To change what has been. To make a better America.
'And so can you! And so must you!
'This year, Jackie Robinson is at bat. He stands for himself, for Americans of every hue, for an America that honors fair play.
'Jackie Robinson is the grandson of a slave, the son of a sharecropper, raised in poverty by a lone mother who took in ironing and washing. But a woman determined to achieve a better life for her son. And she did. For despite hostility and injustice, Jackie Robinson went to college, excelled in all sports, served his country in war. And now, Jackie Robinson is at bat in the big leagues. Jackie Robinson is making a difference. Jackie Robinson has changed what has been. And Jackie Robinson is making a better America.
'And so can you! And so must you!'" (my empasis)