Jackie and Mack Robinson
— Bronze Scultpures, 9 ft by 6 ft by 7 ft, 2,700 lbs each —
The Pasadena Robison Memorial sculptures were created through a community effort spearheaded by the Board of Directors of Pasadena Robinson Memorial and the City of Pasadena. The monumental bronze portraitures of Mack and Jackie Robinson focus on the brothers' lifelong accomplishments.
Mack Robison won the silver medal for the 200-meter dash in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He attended John Muir High School, Pasadena Junior College and University of Oregon. Jackie Robinson lettered in all four major sports at John Muir High School, Pasadena Junior College and University of California, Los Angeles. He went on to break the color barrier in major league baseball in 1947 when he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He also was among the founders of the first African-American owned bank in New York City.
The Robinson brothers' abilities, self-confidence and determination set the stage for others to overcome barriers. Both men led complex lives, contributing in different ways to their communities, serving as role models and working tirelessly for civil justice. The bronze sculptures tell these stories and more with descriptive text and images inscribed on the backs and sides of their heads, highlighting the brothers' multifaceted lives.
The Robinson sculptures were created with care to encourage empathy and mystery. Rather than life-sized "action figures," monumental portraiture was chosen to honor the two brothers because their contributions reached beyond the athletic realm.
Mack was raised and stayed in Pasadena, and his portrait eternally faces City Hall. Jackie, who left the city, faces east, towards Brooklyn and the location of this adult domiciles. The sculptures create a kind of "gentle spectacle" within the public space of Centennial Square. It is hoped that they will promote meditation and reflection.
The 1997 dedication coincided with the 50th year anniversary of Jackie Robinson joining the Brooklyn Dodgers. The landscaping phase was completed on June 20, 2002, with a Commemorative Ring of Donors, lighting, inscribed benches, and flowering peach trees to honor their birthplace of Cairo, Georgia.
The Art Center College of Design students created a CD-ROM, Beyond Glory: Stories of Mack and Jackie Robinson. In a symbolic gesture, copies of the CD-ROM are suspended inside each sculpture.