On April 15, 2013, Bishop McNamara’s own Mr. Lou Holder was working for one of the Washington D.C. TV stations when the call came in with an invite to interview the star of the new movie 42, about the life and career of Jackie Robinson, the first African American major league baseball player. A HUGE Jackie Robinson fan, Lou hurried over to the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown excited to have the privilege of an interview with the actor who would play this iconic role.
During this interview, Lou was constantly impressed with the humility and groundedness of Boseman, an actor who understood the importance of this movie and the need to make it an authentic portrayal of the baseball legend. Lou left after the interview that day knowing whatever Chadwick did with his life, he would do a great job!
The movie 42 was released later that year and Chadwick Boseman was acclaimed for his talent, emotional performance and the movie was hailed as an accurate presentation of the story, apparently something that Boseman fought for. He wanted the movie to be a truthful representation of what it was like for Robinson as the first African American to play Major League baseball outside of a segregated black league in the year 1947. Robinson became a living milestone for racial equality and changed the sport of baseball forever. It was an important role to Boseman and he took it seriously.
Chadwick went on to star as Godfather of Soul James Brown in Get on Up in 2014, as the first African American Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in Marshall 2017, his groundbreaking character T'Challa in the Marvel creation of Black Panther in 2018, and Da 5 Bloods in 2020, the last three movies well after he was diagnosed with cancer. But, he continued with his life, career, and his volunteer work at places like St. Jude's where he could help to brighten the lives of children suffering from life threatening illness.
"I felt that Chadwick embodied one of Jackie Robinson's famous quotes - 'A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives,'" Lou offered.
Boseman went on to share his life and his talent with others, all while undergoing surgeries and chemotherapy to treat his cancer. "He played all these heroic roles, and all along he was the hero!" Lou added.
In 1997, before a Dodgers and Mets game at Shea Stadium, it was declared that #42 - Robinson’s number with the Brooklyn Dodgers - would be permanently retired throughout Major League Baseball. Every year, for one day (this year it would have been April 15th) all major league players don uniforms with the #42 to celebrate the man who broke the color barrier on the baseball field. This year, due to COVID 19, Jackie Robinson Day was not held in April but was rescheduled for August 28th - the same day that Chadwick Boseman lost his battle with colon cancer at the age of 43.