Ken Burns hits a Home Run
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My dad has a 70-year love affair with Dodger blue. At 88, he eagerly awaits the sounds of spring, when the crack of a ball flying off a baseball bat makes him feel like a kid again. On April 11-12, join my dad in reliving one of the important events in American sports history.

Noted documentarian Ken Burns’ latest work is a two-part, four-hour documentary on Jackie Robinson, the man who officially broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Burns calls Robinson “the most important figure in our nation’s most important game.”

It was 1947 when the Brooklyn Dodgers gave Robinson the chance to prove he could play against all-white rosters. He turned hecklers into believers, moved a nation toward acceptance, and left a legacy that cleared a path for today’s baseball millionaires. In true Burns fashion, the audience learns new details about the legend’s life on and off the field through painstaking research.

As a complement to the Robinson documentary, Mississippi Public Broadcasting will televise on April 7 and rebroadcast April 10 an interview conducted with Burns during an appearance last year in Mississippi. In our new show, Conversations, Mississippi native and world-renown pianist Bruce Levingston interviews Burns on the Robinson documentary and other topics.

Burns is at his most eloquent best when he talks about public broadcasting and how his work would not have the impact without this great American treasure. In a piece he once wrote for USA Today’s op-ed page, Burns said: “In an increasingly difficult world to navigate, with multiple media outlets and a constant onslaught of viewpoints, PBS remains our shared space, one where we can experience the best in arts and education, public affairs, history, science and journalism.”

This shared space includes many public broadcasting platforms, including MPB’s talented radio department, which produces 20 hours of local programming each week. In April, MPB radio will conduct its first drive campaign of the year -- our way of asking fans for support -- which we’ve made easy by giving contributors the option of paying monthly.

As Burns indicated, public broadcasters strive to produce content that is more insightful than the crowded, complicated and sometimes unchallenging media space. Our efforts on radio and on TV further that commitment. It’s simply not possible without you.