Andrews Fund Donates $25K to Robinson-Shuba Statue

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Robinson-Shuba statue project has received a  $25,000 grant from the John S. and Doris M. Andrews Memorial Fund, a component of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley.

“We are grateful for this generous contribution, which we see as an investment in sustaining the values this statue will celebrate,” said Ernie Brown, a co-chairman of the Robinson-Shuba Commemorative Statue Committee in a statement. “The towering statue of Jackie Robinson and George Shuba will remind Mahoning Valley residents and visitors that our community has a proud history of supporting racial equality.”

The grant puts the fundraising effort above the halfway mark of its $400,000 goal.

The Community Foundation partners with individuals, families, businesses and nonprofits to address needs that improve the quality of life for all residents.

“The foundation is proud to play a part in this project, serving as a connector between the Robinson-Shuba committee and the advisors of the Andrews Memorial Fund to help move it one step closer to completion,” said President Shari Harrell. “We hope this statue, once completed, will promote further conversations about race and racial equity in our local community and be a tool to facilitate additional education on the issues we face as a country.”

The bronze statue will portray the 1946 handshake at home plate between Jackie Robinson, the first Black player allowed to compete in mainstream professional baseball, and George Shuba, his White teammate from Youngstown. 

Shuba stepped up from the on-deck circle to shake Robinson’s hand after two other teammates who scored on Robinson’s three-run homer in his debut game didn’t wait at home to greet him. Shuba’s gesture of acceptance during a period of open racism marked the start of racial integration in professional baseball and, eventually, much of American life. 

Connecticut-based sculptor Marc Mellon recently completed the statue model, which will be used to create a mold for casting the bronze memorial. The statue will be cast at the Bedi-Makky Art Foundry in Brooklyn, N.Y., which is known worldwide for crafting the Iwo Jima Memorial near Washington, D.C., and the Charging Bull in the New York financial district. 

Dedication of the statue is scheduled for April 18, the 75th anniversary of the Robinson-Shuba handshake. It will be situated in Wean Park, between Covelli Centre and Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre, the memorial will stand nearly seven feet tall in a space dedicated to programming about racial equality.

Pictured: A rendering of the Robinson-Shuba and the surrounding park space.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.