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Robinson v. Robinson: Pasadena's Naming Dilemma


Corina Knoll has a compelling piece in the L.A. Times concerning the naming/renaming flap over Pasadena's Robinson Park. The park, so-named to cover brothers Jackie and Mack Robinson, is in the process of a $24 million upgrade. The dilemma is whether to officially rename the park Jackie Robinson Park (the name by which many people informally know it) in order to make it easier to raise money for the complex, which is currently only about half funded. Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball's color line in 1947 when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, is far better known than Mack, a silver track-medal winner in the 1936 Olympics.

The question of renaming the park goes beyond mere sibling fairness or fundraising smarts, however. While the brothers, who are both dead, grew up in Pasadena, Jackie barely maintained any ties to the community once he left it, while Mack remained in town and became an important voice in the African American community there and in the history of Pasadena. Knoll mentions one possible compromise: "If the change is approved, efforts would be made to name a nearby street after Mack Robinson."


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