Pasadena Robinson Memorial


The City of Pasadena has memorialized Jackie and Mack Robinson in two monumental bronze portrait heads sited across from City Hall in Pasadena. The sculptures reflect the city's appreciation for the brother's contributions beyond the athletic sphere as role models for African Americans and others in their ability to overcome racial barriers and offer hope under the contemporary social climate. The brothers' accomplishments can be traced to their youth in Pasadena and beyond through Mack's competition in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and Jackie's years with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Following his athletic accomplishments, Mack made Pasadena his permanent home where he led the fight against street crime. After two years serving in the U.S. army, Jackie was honorably discharged from his service having refused to give in to racial discrimination within the service. The sculptures function as likenesses of the two athletes and also offer a visual narrative of their accomplishments in politics, community service and sports. The artist team designed the sculptures, incorporating bas relief imagery into the surface of the hair. Images of the two figures in action recede into the surface between the left and right ears of both sculpted heads. Within Mack's hair, outlines of runners appear in action captured in the bronze surface next to quotes from the life of the 1936 Olympic Silver medalist. To Mack's right, outlines of an athlete appear above the letters "UCLA," signifying Jackie's college years and the four sports in which he competed, leading up to his years in major league baseball. These representations of the two brothers symbolize not only their contributions to American sports but their perseverance in breaking racial barriers, offering hope and inspiration to future generations.

Ralph Helmick
10' h


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