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Call Him Jack

The Story of Jackie Robinson, Black Freedom Fighter

Yohuru Williams and Michael G. Long

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Call Him Jack Download image

ISBN10: 0374389950
ISBN13: 9780374389956


240 Pages



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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.


Praise for Call Him Jack

“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 . . . Adds provocative nuances to the usual portrayals of a heroic American.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt


It was hog-butchering day, and Mallie Robinson was excited. Perhaps Jerry would bring home a slab of bacon, some juicy ham, or a tender rack of ribs. Even part of a shoulder, along with a few feet and knuckles,...

About the author

Yohuru Williams and Michael G. Long

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.

Yohuru Williams

Michael G. Long