Simon Wiesenthal Center & Museum of Tolerance Mourn the Loss of Tommy Hawkins

August 16, 2017

Tommy Hawkins was a giant of a man blessed with amazing physical and spiritual power – none better than his uncanny ability to make all those around him do a little bit better.

This gift was on full display when he was the first African-American captain of a major U.S. University (Notre Dame), during a time when
America was still grappling with segregation and later when he was a representative of the Los Angeles Dodgers, to the greater community.

Photo L-R: Tommy Hawkins, Don Newcombe, Rabbi Marvin Hier, Duke Snyder and Sweet Lou Johnson

Our greatest collaboration with Tommy came in 1997 in the wake of the Rose Bowl Committee’s refusal to include a float honoring Jackie Robinson’s 50th anniversary of breaking the color barrier in baseball. Working together, we corrected that inexplicable error in judgment. We also worked with him in helping us to develop a traveling exhibition honoring Jackie Robinson which traveled to many of the Major League parks that year.

We lost a dear friend and Los Angeles has lost a class act.