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PBS Presents Ken Burns’ “Jackie Robinson” April 11-12

Last Updated by Mary Riker on

WSRE takes a look back at Pensacola’s place in baseball history on Sunday

PENSACOLA, Fla., April 4, 2016—“Jackie Robinson” is a new two-part, four-hour documentary, directed by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon, that will air Monday and Tuesday, April 11–12, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on WSRE, PBS for the Gulf Coast. The film tells the story of Jack Roosevelt Robinson, who rose from humble origins to break baseball’s color barrier and waged a fierce lifelong battle for first-class citizenship for all African Americans that transcends even his remarkable athletic achievements.

In conjunction with the film’s broadcast debut, WSRE will air two programs on the history of baseball in Pensacola on Sunday, April 10, with a special encore presentation of “inStudio” at 9:30 a.m. and the 2012 WSRE documentary “Baseball in Pensacola” at 3 p.m.

On the “inStudio” interviews, host Rameca Vincent Leary talks local baseball lore with author and historian Scott Brown and former Major League Baseball players Johnny Joe Lewis, Hosken Powell, Greg Litton, J.J. Cannon and Adron Chambers.

“Baseball in Pensacola” travels back in time to meet teams from the late 1800s all the way to today’s Pensacola Blue Wahoos in their inaugural season.

Both local programs spotlight top-level professional talent from the Pensacola area along with those who played here. From the Negro League to the Major League, the City of Five Flags has hosted all-time greats including Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth.

“Jackie Robinson” memorializes the life of the American icon and baseball legend who integrated Major League Baseball in 1947 when the Brooklyn Dodgers started him at first base.

The film is also a warm portrait of the husband and father, featuring interviews with Robinson’s widow, Rachel, and their surviving children, Sharon and David, who witnessed firsthand how resistant society could be to equality for African Americans, even their vastly popular father.

In addition to Rachel, Sharon and David Robinson, “Jackie Robinson” features interviews with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama; former Dodgers teammates Don Newcombe, Carl Erskine and Ralph Branca; writers Howard Bryant and Gerald Early; Harry Belafonte; Tom Brokaw; and Carly Simon. Jamie Foxx is the voice of Jackie Robinson, reading excerpts from his newspaper columns, personal letters and autobiographies.

“Jackie Robinson” is a production of Florentine Films and WETA, Washington, DC, in association with Major League Baseball. Funding has been provided by Bank of America; Public Broadcasting Service; Corporation for Public Broadcasting; The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations; Dalio Foundation; Mr. Jack C. Taylor; and members of The Better Angels Society, including Jessica & John Fullerton and John & Catherine Debs.    

Photo Credit: Hulton Archive Getty Images

Media Relations Contact:
Mary Riker
mriker@wsre.org