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Sculptor finishes model

Robinson-Shuba statue lands $25,000 Andrews Fund grant

YOUNGSTOWN — Sculptor Marc Mellon has completed the Robinson-Shuba Commemorative Statue model, which will be used to create a mold for casting the bronze memorial.

The larger-than-life bronze statue will portray the 1946 handshake at home plate between Jackie Robinson, the first African-American allowed to compete in mainstream professional baseball, and George Shuba, his white teammate from Youngstown.

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, 2021, the 75th anniversary of the Robinson-Shuba handshake. Situated in Wean Park, between the Covelli Centre and Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre, the memorial will stand nearly seven feet tall above its base and be surrounded by seating that supports programming about racial equality.

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.

Supporters of the statue have announced a grant of $25,000 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-chair of the Robinson-Shuba Commemorative Statue Committee. “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 Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley partners with individuals, families, businesses and non-profits to address charitable and philanthropic needs across Mahoning and Trumbull counties that improve quality of life.

Since announcing the project in November 2019, the statue committee has raised more than $220,000, or more than half of its $400,000 goal. The Economic Action Group, a Youngstown-based nonprofit that promotes development in the city, has served as the project’s fiscal agent since the campaign began.

More information about the statue is available at www.robinsonshuba.org.

news@tribtoday.com

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