Civil Rights Movement

Jackie Robinson

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By: Morgan Sivak & Megan Little

Background Information

Jackie Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia in 1919 to a family of sharecroppers. It was him, his mother, and four other siblings that were the only black family that lived on the block. The prejudice they encountered only made them closer as a family. Growing up with a single parent, Jackie learned to make it on his own in life. Jackie went to UCLA and was the first to get varsity letters in four sports. Due to financial reasons, he was forced to leave college and then decided to join the Army.

In 1945, Jackie played season in the Negro Baseball League and traveled all around the midwest with the Kansas City Monarchs. Little did he know, there were many things to come from that. The Brooklyn Dodgers president, Branch Rickey, wanted Jackie to join the Dodgers. Since baseball had been segregated, there had been no African American players in years until Jackie came along and broke the barrier between blacks and whites.

By the end of Robinson's first season, he became National Rookie of the year, with 12 homeruns, a league leading 29 steals, and a .297 average. He was selected as the NL's Most Valuable Player of the Year in 1949. He was then put in the Hall of Fame in 1962 after playing in six World Series.

Jackie's life was one of the most important in American history and breaking the color barrier. He stood against those who would work against racial equality and showed how much of an influence on man's life can change in culture.

What struggles came along with breaking the baseball color line?

All of this did not come easy. The people in the stands, and on the other teams players and coaches would yell and chant awful things, about a colored playing with all whites. He was called names, and was told to "go back to the cotton fields" by the manager of the Phillies. Tension on the team even existed, and players on the Dodgers said they would rather sit the bench then play on the field next to Robinson. Opposing teams derided Jackie, and claimed that if he played, they would go on strike. Pitchers would purposely hit him with pitches, and at one point he received a seven inch gash on his leg. Jackie never gave up though, he continued to play. He played for his wife, for all of the black people in the stands that supported him, for the players he competed with in the Negro League, and for himself, because he had every right to play, just as anyone did.
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Sources

"Biography." Jackie Robinson. N.p., n.p. Web. 13 Nov. 2014

"Jackie Robinson." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Nov. 2014. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.