Martin Luther King Jr. and Jackie Robinson: Friends and civil rights icons
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream that his four little children would "one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
When King gave that righteous and impassioned address on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963, Dodgers great Jackie Robinson stood just feet away, looking on with his children.
Robinson and King became close friends as they both dedicated their lives to fighting injustice. Not satisfied with merely breaking baseball's color barrier in 1947, Robinson became even more involved in the civil rights movement after he retired in 1957, shortly after having been traded to the Giants. King encouraged Robinson's involvement, saying that he was:
Later in '57, Robinson and King kind of, sort of graduated together when they were awarded honorary doctorates of law at Howard University's commencement ceremony in June, as shown above.
In September 1962, Robinson delivered an address to the Southern Christian Leadership Council at its annual Freedom Dinner in Birmingham, Ala. Robinson praised King in his remarks saying:
Great men they were, and their friendship grew to match their individual statures. When King and other civil rights activists were jailed for their protests, the Robinson family hosted a jazz concert at their home in Stamford, Conn., to raise bail money. When King's march in Selma became the tragic event now known as "Bloody Sunday," Robinson sent a telegram to President Lyndon B. Johnson urging him to intervene to stop the violence.
Even the Vietnam War -- one of the most divisive issues of the 1960s -- couldn't come between King and the Hall of Famer. While they agreed to disagree on the war itself, their difference of opinions actually brought them to a new level of mutual respect.
They remained great friends and, shortly before his assassination in April 1968, King spoke to another Dodgers great -- former pitcher Don Newcombe -- saying: