Baseball legend and civil rights pioneer Jackie Robinson honored on 100th birthday

A baseball legend and his enduring civil rights legacy were honored Thursday in Downtown Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and Council Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo presented a posthumous "Key to Brooklyn" award to the family of Jackie Robinson.

The award coincided with what would have been the 100th birthday of the Hall of Famer who broke barriers as the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball.

Robinson, who was born on January 31st, 1919, played for the Brooklyn Dodgers for ten seasons, from 1947 to 1956.

He was the recipient of the inaugural MLB Rookie of the Year Award in 1947, the National League's Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award in 1949, and he was part of the Dodgers team which won the World Series in 1955.

Off the field, Robinson was instrumental in breaking down barriers for African-Americans across the country, influencing culture and lending his voice to the civil rights movement.

"Social change was something so close and true to his heart that those are the things he didn't compromise on," his granddaughter Sanya Pankey said.

Pankey says her grandfather and grandmother, who is now 96, live life with purpose.

She said if Robinson was alive today, he would have some thoughts on the state of affairs in America.

"He'd say don't put your head down, lift your head up and lean in and do your work to make it better," Pankey said.

Pankey and her family are looking forward to the December opening of the Jackie Robinson Museum in Soho, which will offer a unique look at the baseball legend's life.

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