Jackie Robinson

"A blessing to our community's sense of self-esteem."

artist David McShane

Jackie Robinson by David McShane. James Burns' North Philadelphia Beacon Project is visible in the background. Photo by Steve Weinik.

The mural has been a blessing to our community's sense of self-esteem. Our residents who signed the petition for the neighborhood improvement now feel a sense of ownership and responsibility....Also, with the mural there, the elders who remember Jackie Robinson now have gotten together to talk about him....He opened the door for other sports players of Afrikan ancestry.

- Marilyn Porter, Director, Brownstone Life Skills Center

About the Project 

Through he was never a Philadelphia Phillie, Jackie Robinson helped destroy the color line in major league baseball.  This iconic mural was inspired by news photographs of Robinson stealing home in the World Series, as well as the black and white racial divisions that Robinson helped overcome.

McShane and his assistant finish up a restoration of the original mural in December 2015. Photo by Steve Weinik.

McShane created  his design from several different newspaper photos of Robinson. In the original photo, Robinson had his head down and his face shaded by his baseball cap. McShane found another photo, with the face looking up, and used that instead. McShane used an image showing Robinson with his fist raised in the air to symbolize the African American player’s extraordinary achievements in breaking the color barrier in baseball.

The wall is painted entirely in black, greys, and white, reminiscent of newspaper photos. McShane chose the colors as a reminder of the black and white divisions that Robinson helped overcome when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

By placing a border around the picture, McShane allows the figure of the great player to break out of the black-and-white background into the future.


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