a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A missed photo op

It’s intriguing that The Observer morning newspaper had pro-baseball legend Jackie Robinson in it’s backyard in 1956 and this was the best shot the photographer could come up with.

Robinson, second from right, came to Washington, Pa., in October of that year for the grand opening of the LeMoyne Center, built to give poor black children a safe place to play. The newspaper published the photo on the front page, and it also shows T.S. Fitch, fourth from right, the founder of Washington Steel and mayor of the city at the time. Branch Rickey, who was manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, is standing to Robinson's right.

We dug out this shot from the archives of the Observer-Reporter to accompany an upcoming story about this center’s downhill slide and new efforts to get it operating again.

Dr. Hollis F. Price, fourth from left, was president of LeMoyne College in Memphis Tenn., a school that took its name from Francis J. LeMoyne. Francis was a pioneering physician and abolitionist who opened his stone house in Washington in the 1800s to slaves seeking freedom along the Underground Railroad. He donated $20,000, a considerable sum of money at the time, to the college so that it could educate Southern blacks.

This is a city rich with black history.

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