Jackie Robinson was the ideal class act to break the barrier and become the first black player in Major League Baseball.
Now, his story is coming to life on the big screen, and it is being celebrated with a red carpet premier in Kansas City.
Baseball fans can get a sneak peak of Robinson's biopic 42 that honors the ground-breaking athlete.
The red carpet will roll out at 5:30 p.m. at AMC Barrywoods 24 in the Northland with the guests of honor and celebrities walking at 6:45 p.m..
Stars of the film, including Harrison Ford along with his co-star Chadwick Boseman, will present one of the 42 jerseys worn in the film to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum at 8 p.m.
They will also hold multiple screenings of 42.
The screening is followed by a panel discussion moderated by Joe Posnanski, a former sports writer for The Kansas City Star and author of The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neil's America.
The panel will also feature Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, and David Robinson, the son of Jackie Robinson.
"I think young people, especially, understand what it felt like, at that time, to go through what Jackie Robinson went through," Ford said.
Boseman, who bears a remarkable resemblance to Robinson, grew up playing basketball but said he learned of Robinson's importance around the same time he first learned of Martin Luther King Jr.'s crucial role in fighting for civil rights. Robinson's uniform number has been retired throughout the league - only New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera still wears it, and he's retiring after this season - but every year on April 15, everyone in baseball wears No. 42.
"The story is relevant because we still stand on his shoulders. He started something - I would even say maybe he didn't even start it, it started before him. But he carried the torch. And he carried it alone for a period of time before other people could help him," Boseman said.
Robinson started his career with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues in 1945 before he was discovered by the Brooklyn Dodgers.
The Monarchs ultimately sent more players to the Major League than any other Negro League franchise.
AMC, a Kansas City-based company, donated the theatre space and concessions for the advanced screening.
42 opens to the public Friday.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
KC rolls out red carpet for stars of Jackie Robinson movie '42'More>>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 7:46 AM EDT2014-03-11 11:46:38 GMT
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – No charges will be filed against the people responsible for hanging a dog by a harness at Olga's Dog Spa. A photograph began circulating around social media last week of a dogMore >
No charges will be filed against the people responsible for hanging a dog by a harness at Olga's Dog Spa.More >
Tuesday, March 11 2014 6:04 PM EDT2014-03-11 22:04:32 GMT
Police identified the two women found dead in a running motor vehicle in Lebanon Monday morning. Troopers were called to Smith Road near Route 207 around 8:50 a.m. after a person reported seeing two peopleMore >
Police identified the couple found dead in a running motor vehicle in Lebanon Monday morning.More >
Tuesday, March 11 2014 7:05 PM EDT2014-03-11 23:05:09 GMT
Firefighters in West Haven are on the scene of an early morning fire. Officials said the fire was called in at 89 Coleman Street shortly after 4:30 a.m. There is no word on if anyone has been injured. WFSBMore >
Officials said a couple and their grown daughter were killed in an early morning fire Tuesday at a West Haven condominium complex.More >
Tuesday, March 11 2014 1:30 PM EDT2014-03-11 17:30:08 GMT
Three Connecticut towns made the list of the best places to visit in New England. Guilford, Washington and Wethersfield were listed on Buzz Feed's 24 Small New England Towns You Absolutely Need To Visit.GuilfordMore >
Three Connecticut towns made the list of the best places to visit in New England. More >
Tuesday, March 11 2014 8:28 AM EDT2014-03-11 12:28:24 GMT
A Hartford police sergeant was in the hot seat following a high speed chase that was caught on camera. A few weeks ago, Sgt. Eric Smith barreled through a red light on a city street, hit speeds of 80 milesMore >
A Hartford police sergeant was in the hot seat following a high speed chase that was caught on camera.More >
Tuesday, March 11 2014 12:18 PM EDT2014-03-11 16:18:44 GMT
Hundreds of tickets have been handed out by state police since they started targeting tailgating motorists on highways in an effort to reduce accidents and what they call "aggressive driving habits."TheMore >
Hundreds of tickets have been handed out by state police since they started targeting tailgating motorists on highways in an effort to reduce accidents and what they call "aggressive driving habits."More >
Tuesday, March 11 2014 4:13 PM EDT2014-03-11 20:13:53 GMT
Customers with Verizon Wireless have been the target of scammers, officials said.The scammers were promising people $54 dollars based on an overpaid bill. They even make it look like it's coming from Verizon'sMore >
Customers with Verizon Wireless have been the target of scammers, officials said.More >