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Mr Rickey Calls Meeting By Ed Schmidt

Presented by Cincinnati Black Theatre Company at National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati OH

Feb 17 - 19 2023
Mr Rickey Calls Meeting By Ed Schmidt

Joe Louis, Paul Robeson, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Jackie Robinson, and Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey meet in 1947 to discuss a strategy for dropping a baseball bombshell: promoting a black to the major leagues.

Mr. Rickey Calls A Meeting is a fine historical fictional drama based on real characters
put into a “what if” scenario. The show is humorous, thought provoking and truthful as it
attempts to ask underlying questions as to the ramifications of a single ensuing
historical event. The performances are strong and winning. The play highlights the
multilevel consequences of Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey’s bold move. In many
ways, integrating Major League Baseball paved the way the Civil Rights
Movement. Schmidt’s 90 minute one-act poses questions about race relations that are
still alive today.

On the eve of Branch Rickey’s bold move to integrate Major League Baseball in April of
1947, playwright Ed Schmidt supposes that Rickey called a secret meeting of three
black public legends in order to gain their support as Jackie Robinson (Jeffery Jackson)
was to be given the opportunity to play baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers as the first
black player since 1880.
Mr. Rickey (Saul Caplen), the white general manager of the Dodgers, wants to
show a united front to his integration initiative of baseball with champion boxer Joe
Louis (Ezzard Mosley), legendary dancer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson (Ozie Davis,
.), and singer/actor and political activist Paul Robeson (Tony Harper). The
three meet in a NYC hotel room with a waiting press conference in the works in the
lobby. Rickey’s strategy snags when Paul Robeson voices concerns about the ‘big
picture’ of putting a black man on a Major League baseball team.
After several scenes where we meet and see the foibles of each black legend – Louis’
drinking and diminished athleticism, Robinson’s gambling and ambivalence toward
controversy, and Robeson’s idealistic objections and his abrasive radicalism. Rickey
assumes an easy show of unity but as events unfold and are witnessed and seminarrated
by the 17 year-old bellhop Clancy Hope (Dominique Smith), a frank and heated
discussion of the long term effects of a white man integrating baseball in stead of black
men forcing open the American Pastime ensues.
Robeson pontificates, chides and argues with Rickey, Robinson, Bojangles and
Louis that they must consider what is endured by those who break barriers and at what
cost? Robeson envisions that progress has its price and that things get lost along the
way. The Negro League will quickly disappear, Bojangles as a part owner will lose
money and Jackie Robinson will endure severe racial harassment. Others argue that
Robinson’s elevation to the Big Leagues will lead the way for others and eventual
complete integration of society. The nature and degree of compromise is vividly


Tickets: $20 Adults  $18 Seniors and Children GROUP RATES  $15 EACH for a group of 10 or more

All tickets purchased will Received a ticket to any Reds game in April (except the open Day Game )  and

a Ticket to the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum (Reds tickets will be given to you at the Theatre when you arrive for the show)

Tickets can be purchased online at

Contact: (513) 241-6060


    Official Website


National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

50 E Freedom Way , Cincinnati , OH 45202

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