Former baseball great Reggie Jackson appeared in Palo Alto last week for
a panel discussion on the role of race in sports.
The hall of famer spoke about his personal experience during an event that included a viewing of the film "42: The Jackie Robinson Story."
The event was held software giant SAP's Palo Alto campus on Wednesday.
Eastside College Prep is a preparatory school committed helping historically underserved students pursue higher education. FCE is a local non-profit that recently rolled-out a new middle school program, STEAM (Science Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) that SAP supports.
SAP presented a donation to Jackson’s Mr. October Foundation, which enables students of underrepresented minorities to thrive in a world that is driven by science, technology and innovation.
The event was organized by SAP employee groups (Black Employee Network, Latinos@SAP) and was part of SAP’s People & Diversity Days here in the Bay Area, a week-long celebration aiming to recognize, embrace and celebrate all of our differences—a critical factor to SAP’s long-term success and continued ability to innovate according to company officials.
Jackson, 67, spoke during the presentation about experiencing racism as an up-and-coming star in the minor leagues. He was the only African-American player on a Birmingham (Ala.) A's team in 1967, when he didn't have a regular place to stay and few teammates allowed him to stay on their couch.
He recalled punching his hand through a soda machine after racial epithets were hurled in his direction during a game in Florida in the 1970s.
Jackson admonished the young students to put school first.
“Get an education. Go to college. Pay attention. Listen to your mother and your father,” he told them. " They can’t take an education from you. You will lose your hair and your looks, but they can’t take your education from you."