American History: Free showing of “42,” the story of Jackie Robinson

Published 8:50 pm Thursday, February 13, 2014

Mark Kauffman/Sports Illustrated Jackie Robinson steals home

Mark Kauffman/Sports Illustrated
Jackie Robinson steals home


A baseball legend’s life story and a state historic site will come together in a celebration of Black History Month next week.

On Feb. 20 at 7 p.m., Historic Bath State Historic Site will host a free showing of “42,” the 2013 blockbuster hit about baseball icon Jackie Robinson — how he broke baseball’s color barrier with the help of Brooklyn Dodgers’ General Manager Branch Rickey. The movie stars Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey and Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson.

The film follows Robinson through his first appearance on the field as a Dodger in 1947, his forbearance with racist fans and teammates, and the history-making season in which Robinson’s athletic ability would ultimately win him Rookie of the Year.

“With this being Black History Month, I thought it would be a topic of interest,” said Leigh Swain, site manager of Historic Bath State Historic Site. “We try to do historically based movies. It really has no part in Bath history but it has to do with American history.”

According to Swain, the site has long hosted free movies. While they’ve cut down on frequency, Swain said she looks for movies that will have historic appeal.

“We like to share history and this is a more creative way to give people the opportunity to come to the movies. Of course, we’re not trying to be in competition with the cinemas,” she laughed.

Unlike movie theaters, free popcorn and drinks will accompany “42.”  The movie will be shown in the visitors center, where there’s a big screen and room for a crowd. Swain said a core group of viewers regularly attends the free movies, but she’s hoping history lovers and movie buffs alike will show.

“With this being a more recent movie, hopefully we can fill up the room,” Swain said. “We’ve got room for about 60 people.”

Earlier this month, the State Historic Site hosted a lecture on John Day, one of the founders of Liberia and the American Colonization Movement, also in recognition of Black History Month.