NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s doubt about the historical significance of a Brooklyn house that was once home to Jackie Robinson, but don’t tell that to supporters of an effort to grant city landmark status to the house.
Some experts argue that Robinson did not live in the East Flatbush house when he broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947. However, City Councilman Jumaane Williams, D-Brooklyn, said at a news conference there Monday, even if that’s true, the Hall of Famer ended segregation in the neighborhood.
“Young people can walk by here, and I think their chest will go up a little bit more and their head will go up a little bit more, their pants might come up a little bit more,” Williams told reporters, including WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., agreed that Robinson’s past in East Flatbush was worth honoring.
“The history of Brooklyn is one of many people’s — coming to Brooklyn, struggling to be here but then being accepted,” Schumer said. “And Jackie Robinson — as great a man as he was and as great an athlete as he was –had to go through that same struggle right here at this house.”
The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission ruled in July that the home is not eligible for landmark status. Officials are hoping the agency will reconsider its decision.
Those behind the effort fear that the house could eventually be sold and demolished, forever erasing a piece of history.
Tony Wheelock said her great aunt and uncle, who own the house, passed down stories about when the Brooklyn Dodgers great moved in.
“My uncle pitched a ball to him, and he hit that ball all the way down to Church Avenue,” Wheelock said. “And she said, ‘Well, I guess we got a winner.'”
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