CAIRO — A date has been set for the rededication ceremony of a historical marker honoring the late baseball legend Jackie Robinson at his birthplace on Hadley Ferry Road.
The original marker, which was erected in 2001 by the Georgia Historical Society and the Jackie Robinson Cairo Memorial Institute, was unrepairable as several shotgun blasts on both sides and a stuck shotgun slug left the marker vandalized in February.
Grady County Sheriff’s Office hasn't obtained any new leads and no arrests have been made.
A new marker and a duplicate marker will be dedicated to Robinson on January 28, a few days before his birthday, which is January 31.
The public ceremony at 11 a.m. will formally present both markers where the second marker will be displayed outside of the Roddenbery Memorial Library, just 13 miles away from Robinson’s birthplace.
Elyse Butler, Georgia Historical Society marker manager, is hoping the additional marker will direct more people to view the new sign.
“We decided that two historical markers would be a good idea that way it would bring more awareness to the birthplace of Jackie Robinson,” she said. “The site of the birthplace is quite rural, so not everyone that goes into Cairo knows where it’s located.”
Major League Baseball helped fund the sign’s recreation and upkeep by donating $40,000 to the GHS in August.
In 1947, Robinson broke color barriers as he made history as the first African American MLB player. The trailblazing athlete also continued to support the Civil Rights movement throughout his life.
The two local markers are just one out of 50 state markers a spart of the Civil Rights Trail established by the Georgia Historical Society and Georgia Department of economic Development in 2014.
“It’s still growing,” Butler said. “Jackie Robinson’s contributions to the struggles for human civil rights by African Americans from the period of reconstruction through the modern movement is an important story to tell.”
Dr. Linda Walden, president and founder of the Jackie Robinson Cairo Memorial Institute, said she is very happy to see her cousin’s legacy is still being honored.
“His legacy will continue to live on no matter what, and we will continue to speak out and celebrate all of the things he did to make this country a better country,” she said. “Jackie was dedicated to improving the lives of everyone and one of the main things he always would say was ‘life is not important except for the impact it has on other lives’ and that’s the kind of life he lived.”
Governor Brian Kemp, Congressman Sanford Bishop and Senator Raphael Warnock may be in attendance to the ceremony as Walden said she’s invited them to make the rededication ceremony even more special.
“We really want to make this a very special day to remember for all of our communities, especially our young people,” she said. “We want to make a difference and let our young people know that greatness is in this area.”