Family Members Get Key To The City, Museum Of The City Of New York Features Films, Memorabilia Of American Icon

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It was “Jackie Robinson Day” in Brooklyn on Thursday.

A proclamation ceremony was timed to coincide with what would have been the 100th birthday of the Brooklyn Dodgers legend. His family members were given keys to the borough, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported.

Sonya Pankey’s grandfather was a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and a Civil Rights hero.

In a rare home movie you see her father, Jackie Jr., at bat and the American hero nearby in what were quiet post-retirement backyard moments in Stamford, Connecticut.

Jackie Robinson died at age 53 in 1972.

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Now on what would have been his 100th birthday, calling Pankey proud is an understatement as she repeated some of the words he lived by.

“Live your life with purpose and reach big,” Pankey said.

The event at Brooklyn Borough Hall featured the young winners of an essay contest. Taking first place was Anaelle Pierre-Charles.

“The lesson that the world can learn from Jackie Robinson is hat no matter what color your skin is it’s about who you are and how you treat other people,” Pierre-Charles said.

“I’m humbled by watching them,” Pankey added.

Films and exhibits also celebrate Robinson.

A typical focus is his breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, but there is much more, and a new exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York gives visitors a more intimate portrait.

On display was a signed baseball and left-handed practice glove and many never-before-seen photographs. CBS2 asked the curators of the exhibit to point out their favorite ones.

“One of my favorite images is this photograph over here of Jackie typing,” co-curator Susan Johnson said. “I like the idea of Jackie sitting down at the typewriter and telling his own story.”

“My favorite photo is a picture of Jack in the locker room having a conversation with another teammate,” co-curator Sean Corcoran added. “It is well known that there was a lot of tension and he was called the ‘loneliest man in baseball’ his first year. These pictures show, at least in certain instances, that there was a real camaraderie and a close relationship there.”

The exhibit is saying the time for Robinson was then and the time to remember him is now — and always.

The exhibit runs until mid-September.

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