After baseball became segregated in 1889, the Major Leagues had not seen an African American player until Jackie Robinson in 1947. Jackie Robinson was a jack-of-all-trades type of athlete. He excelled at baseball, football, track and basketball; he even was named to the All-American football team. Financial troubles struck Robinson, just as it did in many African American households, causing Robinson to put some dreams and talents on hold. He enlisted himself into the U.S. Army and remained active for two years before getting honorarily discharged.
In 1945 Robinson returned to baseball. He played with the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro League before being drafted by Brooklyn Dodgers’ president himself, Branch Rickey in 1947. Remember, baseball, the All-American sport, had been segregated for over 50 years. By Robinson accepting the offer to play for the Dodgers, he “pioneered the integration of professional athletics in America,” (jackierobinson.com). His brave participation in a sport where its players and fans hated the color of his skin and acted maliciously towards Robinson and his family because of their “blackness”, challenged the ill beliefs of whites in all of America. Like a true Hall of Fame-r, Jackie Robinson finished off his first year in the Major Leagues with an impressive resume of stats. Despite the cruelty he experienced from opposing teams, like being kicked in his ankles repeatedly by their spiked cleats, Robinson managed to still hit 12 home-runs, have “a league-leading 29 steals” and he walked away with the Rookie of the Year title. I’m curious if their mistreatment of him on the sly was more motivation for Robinson to hit those home-runs so he wouldn’t have to stop and endure discriminatory abuse… What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger. And what tries to stop us, pushes us harder.
In 1962, Jackie Robinson was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame.
“I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.”
“There’s not an American in this country free until every one of us is free.”
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I help to change my nation by empowering our young girls and helping them realize their worth. How will you help change your nation? Comment below :)
- image: psacard.com (google images)