(The Root) — At the White House today, Michelle Obama, students and the cast and crew gathered to discuss the film about the black baseball trailblazer.
Dozens of students from the Washington, D.C., area attended a discussion with Michelle Obama, Harrison Ford and other members of the cast and crew of 42, the soon-to-be-released movie about Jackie Robinson.
“I know I was mad just watching the movie,” the first lady said of the discrimination that the first African American to play in Major League Baseball and his wife encountered. “It would have been easy for them to get mad or to give up. But instead, they [met] hate — they met hatred with decency.”
Rachel Robinson “paved the way for me,” she added. More from her remarks:
From the time they were young people just like all of you, they worked hard to prepare themselves for greatness so that when the opportunity came their way, they were ready for that greatness. This would have been a totally different story had they not been prepared, had they not trained themselves, had they not educated themselves.
Yes, Jackie Robinson certainly was a tremendous athlete, but he was so much more than that. He bravely served in our Armed Forces. He attended college at UCLA. He competed as hard as he could at everything he did so that his gifts wouldn’t go to waste. And Rachel Robinson was in every way his equal, ladies — in every way his equal. She made her education a priority. She worked hard in school. She eventually became a nurse.
So Jackie and Rachel Robinson weren’t destined for greatness — they prepared themselves for greatness, which meant that they could make a difference outside of baseball, as well. And that is the only thing that is important for you to understand. You can be great in your profession, you can earn a lot of money, you can be famous, but the question is what are you doing for others.