Ceremony to unveil statues of Camden’s ‘native sons’ – Doby and Baruch

mlucas@thestate.comMarch 24, 2013 

This story was updated March 26, 2013, to correct the hometown of Darla Moore.

The lives and legacies of two of Camden’s native sons will be celebrated in Camden on Friday.

Baseball Hall of Famer Larry Doby and financier Bernard Baruch will be honored in a ceremony that will include an unveiling of their bronze statues in front of the Camden Archives and Museum, at 1314 Broad St. in Camden.

Born in 1923, Doby was the first African-American to enter the baseball’s American League. He was inducted 1947 – just 11 weeks after baseball legend Jackie Robinson entered the National League.

Doby is one of four baseball greats recently featured on the U.S. Postal Service’s Major League All-Stars Forever stamps. Doby, who retired in Montclair, N.J., died in 2003.

Born in 1870, Bernard Baruch was of Jewish ancestry. Baruch and his family moved from Camden to New York City when he was 10. From there he worked his way up at a small brokerage house on Wall Street, earning his first million at age 30.

Until his death in 1965, Baruch was known for his Wall Street successes, and also as an adviser and confidant to six U.S. presidents, from Woodrow Wilson to John F. Kennedy.

Baruch’s statue sits on a park bench at the edge of a baseball diamond. A few feet away, Doby’s statue stands behind home plate, autographing a baseball to Baruch. The two appear to be in conversation.

The project is the brainchild of John Rainey, a Camden attorney and Republican donor and activist, and his wife, Anne Edens Rainey. They also financed the sculptures.

John Rainey will speak on the theme of reconciliation.

“I wanted to do this project to express our heartfelt gratitude for how far we have come as a state and nation, but with concern for how far we still have to go,” Rainey said last week. “By creating this special place to honor two lives that contributed greatly to our nation, we will recognize that we are one people inextricably bound together by our shared history and common destiny.”

History is important to the Raineys, and so is reconciliation.

Rainey is the descendent of a signer of the Ordinance of Secession and of Confederate soldiers. His wife is a descendent of Lt. Wade Hampton Gibbes, who fired the first shot at Fort Sumter in Charleston that began the Civil War.

The sculptures were created by Maria Kirby-Smith of Camden, a descendent of Gen. Edmund Kirby-Smith, the last Confederate officer to surrender to Union forces in Texas in June 1865.

Also expected to attend Friday’s unveiling are U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of Charleston; baseball Hall of Famer Jim Rice, who grew up in Anderson; financier and philanthropist Darla Moore, who lives in Lake City; and Camden Mayor Tony Scully.

Reach Lucas at (803) 771-8657.


If You Go

What: Unveiling ceremony

When: 2:30 p.m. Friday

Where: On the front lawn of the Camden Archives and Museum, 1314 Broad St., Camden

Sons of Camden

Larry Doby, 1923-2003

When Larry Doby joined the Cleveland Indians in 1947, he became the first African-American to break the color barrier in the American League and the second African-American player to enter baseball’s major leagues. Jackie Robinson had joined the National League’s Brooklyn Dodgers 11 weeks earlier.

Doby established career highs with the Cleveland Indians with 32 home runs and 126 RBIs and finished second to Yogi Berra as the American League’s Most Valuable Player. He was the first African-American to hit a home run in a World Series.

Bernard Baruch, 1870-1965

Bernard Mannes Baruch was the second of four sons to Belle and Simon Baruch. Baruch’s father was a field surgeon for the Confederate Army during the Civil War. In 1881, the Baruchs moved to New York City, where he would grow up and spend much of his life.

After graduating from the College of the City of New York, Baruch went through many jobs until he had saved enough money to buy a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. His financial acumen made him a millionaire at the age of 30.

Through three wars and the administrations of six U.S. presidents, Baruch was often called upon for his advice and expertise, earning him the nickname of “elder statesman.” He was known for sitting on park benches, either in solitary contemplation or discussing the affairs of government with others.

Sources: The State newspaper and the Jewish Virtual Library

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