History: A Cat May Look at a King

In short succession, I read Arnold Rampersad’s biography of Jackie Robinson and saw Ken Burns’ documentary about him. Robinson had greater historical moments, but I was struck by this photograph of Robinson as he left the Dodgers’ clubhouse for the last time. The clubhouse cat sits in the doorway, gazing at the king of baseball. It is the oddest and saddest image—burly Robinson, with his bag jauntily slung over his shoulder, and the cat, so small and quizzical. I’m sentimental about cats and emotional about race, so this photo really got to me.