An enthralling, eye-opening portrayal of this barrier-breaking American hero as a lifelong, relentlessly proud fighter for Black justice and civil rights.
According to Martin Luther King, Jr., Jackie Robinson was “a sit-inner before the sit-ins, a freedom rider before the Freedom Rides.” According to Hank Aaron, Robinson was a leader of the Black Power movement before there was a Black Power movement. According to his wife, Rachel Robinson, he was always Jack, not Jackie—the diminutive form of his name bestowed on him in college by white sports writers. And throughout his whole life, Jack Robinson was a fighter for justice, an advocate for equality, and an inspiration beyond just baseball.
From prominent Robinson scholars Yohuru Williams and Michael G. Long comes Call Him Jack, an exciting biography that recovers the real person behind the legend, reanimating this famed figure’s legacy for new generations, widening our focus from the sportsman to the man as a whole, and deepening our appreciation for his achievements on the playing field in the process.
Yohuru Williams is Distinguished University Chair and Professor of History and founding director of the Racial Justice Initiative at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. The former chief historian of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, he appeared in Ken Burns’s Jackie Robinson and was one of the hosts of Sound Smart, the History Channel’s popular YouTube program. His educational videos on civil rights, social movements, and other historic events have garnered over 1 million views. He is the author of numerous books, including Teaching Beyond the Textbook, and he has appeared on a variety of media outlets, including ABC, CNN, MSNBC, HISTORY, BET, CSPAN, and NPR.
Michael G. Long is the author or editor of books on civil rights, religion, and politics, including Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography, which was selected as a best book of the year by Publishers' Weekly; Gay Is Good: The Life and Letters of Gay Rights Pioneer Franklin Kameny; Beyond Home Plate: Jackie Robinson on Life after Baseball; Martin Luther King, Jr., Homosexuality, and the Early Gay Rights Movement; and Marshalling Justice: The Early Civil Rights Letters of Thurgood Marshall. Long also served as an expert historian for Ken Burns's documentary on Jackie Robinson. He lives in Pennsylvania with his family.
Kirkus Reviews Best Middle Grade Books of the Year
School Library Journal Best Nonfiction Books of the Year
Chicago Public Library Best Informational Books for Older Readers of the Year
“A pugnacious civil rights advocate who also happened to be a great athlete . . . Williams and Long chronicle [Robinson's] athletic achievements . . . but look beyond them to portray him as a 'relentless and uncompromising Black freedom fighter' who 'used his racial pride to fuel his lifelong passion for justice' . . . Thorough, expansive, readable [and] essential.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“This eye-opening biography . . . skillfully highlights one prominent Black figure’s impact on America’s history both on and off the ball field.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Engrossing . . . Much more than a sports biography, this powerful and stellar work documents Robinson’s place in history as a civil rights hero. Highly recommended for all middle and high school libraries.” —School Library Journal, starred review
“The depth of research in Call Him Jack is remarkable, and the authors effectively re-establish him as a man who tirelessly fought for justice, especially in his life after baseball.” —The New York Times Book Review