Jackie Robinson movie, '42,' looks at baseball and race in America

Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson, left, and Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey in a scene from "42." (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, D. Stevens)

Monday will mark 66 years since Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier. And it’s being showcased in a Hollywood way today with the new movie “42.”

Still revered by those around the game more than six decades later, Jackie Robinson’s accomplishments on the baseball field continue to be felt today from sandlots to where the pros play.

But his accomplishments off the field may be just as legendary. Robinson was a very strong leader in the African American community and was a hero to most Americans of all races.

Robinson sent a letter to President Eisenhower pushing for civil rights. He befriended Martin Luther King and marched on Washington in 1963.

In Washington today, Capitals hockey player Joel Ward wears jersey number 42 to honor Robinson. And a school named for Robinson is right across the river from where the Nationals play baseball.

“I think the world could use some more Jackies that's for sure,” says Ian Desmond, Nationals shortstop. “He symbolizes what a man is. To be able to bite your tongue in situations where you could otherwise do differently.”

“He opened it up for everybody in the U.S., across the board, whether it’s corporate America or happens to be in sports,” says Denard Span, Nationals outfielder.

And there’s another Washington connection. The actor who portrays Jackie Robinson in the movie, Chadwick Boseman, is a graduate of Howard University.

Jackie Robinson's daughter says she and her family are excited about the new movie about her father, who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball.

Sharon Robinson tells The Advocate of Stamford{ } that "42" does a good job of highlighting the resistance and prejudice faced by her father, who died in 1972, and it could help people discuss the lack of equal opportunity.

Robinson, who grew up in Stamford, says that while her father faced stress and turmoil as a trailblazer, he felt great fulfillment raising a family with his wife, Rachel, and raising consciousness about the need for equal rights for blacks and other minorities.

Robinson says she and her mother, now, 91, and older brother David are excited about "42," which opens in theaters Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.