Where Have You Gone Joe Dimaggio," Jackie Robinson, and Hank Greenberg: Ethnic Heroes in Baseball's Melting Pot. A lecture by William M. Simons.
As a means of illuminating America's racial and ethnic past, this lecture examines and compares an iconic baseball triumvirate: Jackie Robinson, Joe DiMaggio, and Hank Greenberg. Prior to the sport's travails of recent years, baseball long reigned as the undisputed "national pastime." Then, the microcosm of baseball reflected the main currents of American life and culture. We explore the game's golden age, when it possessed the power to dramatize the imperfections of the nation's melting pot.
Jackie Robinson's battle to integrate baseball, for example, symbolized the collective struggle of blacks against racism. Likewise, Italian-American superstar Joe DiMaggio and the Jewish slugger Hank Greenberg possessed profound meaning for their respective ethnic groups. Today, even in its current state, the ascent of Latin and Asian baseball stars provides minority America with symbolic heroes.
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