First Lady Screens '42' at White House, Cites Cultural Progress

First Lady Screens '42' at White House, Cites Cultural Progress

First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a special screening at the White House last night of 42, the new movie recalling baseball’s first black ballplayer, Jackie Robinson.

Harrison Ford, who plays Brooklyn Dodgers’ GM Branch Rickey in the film, co-star Chadwick Boseman and the late ballplayer’s widow, Rachel Robinson, were joined at the event by children from Los Angeles’ Amino Jackie Robinson Charter School.

The film recalls the racial animus directed at both the Dodgers franchise and Robinson himself as he shattered the sport’s ugly color barrier. Robinson not only performed magnificently on the field, he carried himself with dignity off it to help the national pastime welcome future players of color.

Obama says the movie pays tribute to the progress the country has made since the days when the great Robinson first put on that Dodgers uniform.

“It wasn’t simply the wonderful performances, because the performances were brilliant — brilliant,” she said, adding that “many in this country still face clear challenges, they still exist today. I was struck by how far removed that way of life seems today. I mean, there’s work to be done, but things have changed. … That sort of prejudice is simply just not something that can happen in the light of day today.”

Other movies screened at the White House during President Barack Obama’s four-plus years in office include Red Tails, Thurgood, Lincoln and Cars 2.

42 opens nationwide April 12.