Published February 28, 2011
MONTREAL – Dozens gathered on a wet, snowy sidewalk in Montreal to watch as Jackie Robinson's former apartment was honored by the U.S. government.
American diplomats, including Ambassador David Jacobson, placed a plaque at the home in the city's Villeray district, where Robinson lived in the summer of 1946 as he prepared to break baseball's color barrier.
Robinson's season with the minor league Royals was his final stop before making history the next year with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Officials read a letter from Robinson's widow, which described how the couple appreciated the welcome in Canada after the way the two were treated in the southern United States.
Jacobson used the story as an example of the two countries' common history.
"In some places in my country he was treated shamefully," Jacobson said.
"But the people in this house, and the people in this neighborhood, and the people in Montreal, were much better. They showed us the way. They gave all of us hope. They gave all of us renewal.
"And through the bravery of Jackie Robinson and so many others through the years, my country has changed and changed for the better. I stand here as the representative of an African-American president of the United States. And I would dare say that in the summer of 1946, if somebody stood up here on this porch and said that that was going to happen someday, that everyone would have laughed.
"But what happened here was, quite frankly, a very important step on that journey."