New Book Examines the Faith of a Sports Icon

March 9, 2017

Louisville, KY

A great deal has been written about Jackie Robinson and far more has been written about spirituality and faith, but Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography (Westminster John Knox Press) is the first book to explore the faith that, Robinson said, carried him through the torment and abuse he suffered for integrating the major leagues and drove him to get involved in the civil rights movement.

As authors of previous works on Jackie Robinson, Michael Long and Chris Lamb explain, “Only when we see faith in every part of Robinson’s life—from his birth to his death—will we understand that Robinson was a man for whom Christian faith acted as a source of inspiration and motivation, comfort and strength, wisdom and direction.”

Guided by unpublished sources and interviews with Rachel Robinson and others, Long and Lamb examine Jackie’s life on and off the baseball field, uncovering a faith in God that was rooted in sacrifice, service, and hope. “To ignore Robinson’s faith,” the book explains, “is to take away the very foundation on which he stood as he shattered the color barrier in baseball and became a leading figure in the civil rights movement after baseball.” Marked by sacrifice and service, Jackie Robinson’s faith shaped not only his character but also baseball and America itself.

 

Michael G. Long is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies at Elizabethtown College and is the author or editor of several books on civil rights, religion and politics, and peacemaking in mid-century America, including First Class Citizenship: The Civil Rights Letters of Jackie Robinson, which was named a best book of the year by Publishers Weekly.

Chris Lamb is Professor of Journalism at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis and is the author and editor of several books, including Blackout: The Untold Story of Jackie Robinson’s First Spring Training and Conspiracy of Silence: Sportswriters and the Long Campaign to Desegregate Baseball, which was called one of the best nonfiction baseball books of all time by The Huffington Post and was named the Best Book on Journalism and Mass Communication History by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in 2013.