Major League Baseball Trailblazer Jackie Robinson
TV 4 Anchor Jim Vance left a trail in media for others to follow
It is often said, “Time brings about a change” but change this time was for all the wrong reasons. George Washington University located in the Georgetown section of DC decided to phase out the Jackie Robinson project that had been housed in the university for over two decades. Jackie broke the color barrier in Major Baseball on April 15, 1947. On that day in baseball history Jackie took a major step in the direction of Civil Rights. His courage and crusade for a equal oportunity for everyone forever altered the social landscape of the country. Jackie is one of my heroes along with the great athlete/actor Paul Roberson. They will always be defined by their courage. I was not aware that George Washington University house a Jackie Robinson exhibit.
Jackie was a talented and versatile athlete, he also ran track, played football and basketball. NBA icon Red Auerbach said, “He was a better football player than a baseball player. When it comes to naming the greatest all-around athletes of all-time, two names always surface, Jim Brown and Jackie Robinson.” The Board of Directors are taking steps to assure that Jackie Robinson’s name will never surface again on the campus of George Washington University.
Hopefully, I will get a chance to visit the exhibit before it disappears without a trace.
In the meantime, across town in NE Washington, DC on the campus of Archbishop John Carroll High School, philanthropist Richard Dyer a former John Carroll student and President/General Manager of W-U-S-A TV 9 made an endowment of 5 million dollars to the Jim Vance Media Program. The program will be a highly competitive for incoming freshmen interested in making television journalism a career. The scholarship will include full-tuition scholarship support for 20 students annually. In the spring of 2019 the school will break ground for major renovation to include recording studios, editing booths, suites and master control rooms. Richard Dyer and men like him is one of the reasons I close my Inside Sports talk show with “Every black face I see is not my brother and every white I see is not my enemy!” What makes this story unique is that Jim Vance (WRC-TV 4) and Richard Dyer (W-U-S-A TV 9) worked for two different competitive news media outlets competing for their share of the DC market. This gesture tells you a lot about the man Richard Dyer.
Jim hailed from the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. Education was always big with him, he taught school before pursuing a career in media. He joined the WRC-TV 4 news team shortly after the 1968 riots. He became a fixture in the DC community when he became a part of my non-profit Kids In Trouble team in 1969. Along with Judge Luke C. Moore and his colleagues of the DC Superior Court and members of the Washington Redskins, Roy Jefferson, Harold McLinton, Larry Brown and Ted Vactor we became a inseparable and one of a kind team in the DC community.
W-H-U-R- Radio icon Melvin Lindsey and Jim Vance co-host my annual toys for tots drive.
Jim and I wait for our mentees at the Roy Jefferson (NFL) Learning Center in NW DC.
The Jackie Robinson Museum is scheduled to open in 2019 and it will be located in lower Manhattan. Rachel Robinson will be 98 years old in 2019 this was her project and this museum will be her dream come true.
The year 2019 will also mark the United States Post Office displaying a commemorative stamp with the photo of my friend and homeboy, the great Marvin Gaye.
And last but not least November 2019 will be the 45th anniversary of “The Rumble in the Jungle.” This fight has been called the greatest in the history of boxing, the undefeated Heavyweight Champion of the World, George Foreman vs The Greatest, Muhammad Ali. Ali’s stunning 8th round ko of Big George was heard around the world. November 23, 2019 will mark the historical 44th anniversary of my television debut as the first black to host and produce his own television special in prime time on NBC affiliate WRC-TV 4. My special guest was Muhammad Ali. I have to thank my friends and partners in high places for making my dream a reality—Muhammad Ali and Jim Vance. Jim sold the show to the NBC WRC-TV 4 producers making history.
“UNTIL THE LIONS HIRE THEIR OWN PR FIRM, THE GLORY OF THE HUNT WILL ALWAYS GO TO THE HUNTER!”