John U. Bacon writes a short introduction to the attached video highlighted in this month's Michigan Today profiling civil rights pioneer Branch Rickey and his relationship with the immortal Jackie Robinson. Rickey was a 1911 graduate of Michigan Law School.
Like so many great Wolverines, he was born in Ohio but shook it off. Interesting that Charles Thomas, a black player on Rickey's Ohio Wesleyan team (at that point Rickey was Wesleyan's coach) was a catalyst for Rickey's focus on discrimination in baseball. The incident in particular - a not unusual story of a hotel refusing to lodge a person of color - took place in South Bend, but sadly could have occurred virtually anywhere in the U.S. at that time.
This is well worth 25 minutes of your time, and as "42" hits the theaters, remember that Branch Rickey was a law school alumnus and a model representative of UofM in many ways.
There is also a related story by Bacon regarding the impact Rickey had on Fred Wilpon (Mets owner, Michigan man, and namesake of the baseball-softball complex) that's worth a look. LINK. Money quote? Money quote:
He practically invented Ladies' Day—which integrated an almost entirely male domain—spring training, and baseball's minor league system. Former St. Louis Cardinal great Stan Musial said, "An all-star team of our top farm clubs probably could have finished third behind the Cardinals and Dodgers. This was Branch Rickey's masterpiece."