A marker honoring Jackie Robinson has been defaced. MLB helped replace him.

Later, he added, “The association of guns and violence against African Americans in this country is one of the things that has been going on for a long time. And so the fact that they fired at these markers with guns was a signal that was being sent one way or another.

(The Grady County Sheriff’s Office did not return a message seeking comment.)

Redesigning and installing new markers cost thousands of dollars. Knowing that the 2021 All-Star Game would come to suburban Atlanta (before it moved to Denver due to Georgia election laws), Groce said the historical society contacted MLB about a partnership on a new Robinson marker. MLB donated $40,000, he said, which covered not only the cost of a new aluminum birthplace marker, but also the addition of a second — at the Roddenbery Memorial. Library in downtown Cairo, a busier area that directs people to the birthplace 13 miles south – and has established a fund for their upkeep.

April Brown, MLB’s vice president of social responsibility, said the effort will exist in perpetuity because “we want to make sure it’s something that lasts forever.”

“Sometimes people look at things like, ‘Oh, it’s just physical signage,'” she said. “But what it represents is how we can empower the community and the public around social justice, and empower and uplift those who fought for the rights of all.”

Brown called the marker’s degradation of Robinson and the others “incredibly heartbreaking.” But she also sees it as an opportunity to draw attention to the fact that vandalism directed against minorities is still happening.

“It’s always an indication of what our country still needs to do,” she said. “It is very unfortunate that whoever the individual or individuals felt the need to go after something so iconic and a man who left such a legacy in baseball and in America .”

The new Robinson markers were installed by local authorities on Wednesday. Local politicians, representatives from New York’s MLB, Groce and Walden, among others, will gather at the public library on Friday morning to rededicate the markers. (A new Turner marker was already installed and rededicated in December.)

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