Carlis (Wright) Robinson is the daughter of pitcher John Wright. It has been her mission to spread her father's rise to fame, and love of baseball.
By: AAEA — African American Entrepreneurs Association
The AAEA is honored and excited to have partnered with the award-winning Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the University of Florida to record Johnny Wright's daughter, Carlis Robinson, and archive this barrier-breaking story for future generations. Even though Johnny himself was modest and seldom spoke of his tremendous career, Carlis has spent years interviewing and preserving his history.
“The AAEA and The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program partnered together to capture a voice of our past and present by interviewing Johnny Wright’s daughter, Carlis (Wright) Robinson," said AAEA Community Development Director Maurice Myrick. "Johnny Wright is a historical gem, who sits directly aside Jackie Robinson, and his story deserves to be told as well. I thank Carlis (Wright) Robinson for taking time out to share her historical lens, which covers her father’s personal and professional journey to play in a multitude of leagues.”
Johnny Wright, a talented and passionate player, is a prime example how people who deserve their recognition through the decades that often go quiet in the history books. Over the years, Wright was reluctant to grant interviews. When Wright died on May 4, 1990, at his funeral, Walter Wright (no relation) said, “when I looked over at his casket, I couldn’t help wondering how many stories it contained — stories that now would never be told.”
Robinson has spent time interviewing former teammates, community members and family friends learning more about his barrier breaking career and looking for those stories.
“My dad was the coolest guy you’d ever want to meet. He was just cool. His favorite word was Copacetic,” Robinson said. “He was just so laid back.”
During a time of change and cultural inclusion struggles, Robinson said, “He didn’t dwell on the negative.” Even while having to sleep on the bus and the community limited access, everything he did “was for the love of the game.”
“The AAEA strives to educate our communities on great Black & Brown achievements,” Maurice Myrick said. “ When we remember who, what, when, where and how our history has impacted a generation, we then understand why it is important and why it serves as the inspiration and motivation to take the next generation further. We all will get an opportunity to break a barrier in some field. Will you be ready? Will you have the grit it takes to succeed? Will you step up to the plate? Will you take action? The AAEA believes in you.”
To learn more about the Samuel Proctor Oral History program, and their historical projects nationwide, visit https://oral.history.ufl.edu/
Mrs. Carlis Wright Robinson is the daughter of pitcher John Wright, who was a trailblazer in integrating the baseball leagues following WWII. She spoke with Adolfho Romero of the Samuel Proctor 0.Oral History Program at the University of Florida in the Jackie Robinson Ballpark and Museum in Daytona Beach, Florida.