Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born January 31, 1919. He was born in Cairo, Georgia and was the youngest of five children. He had a grandfather that was a slave, Jackieís dad was a sharecropper and Mallie, Jackieís mother, was a maid. His dad ran away from the family when Jackie was only an infant.
Jackie fought racism in his California childhood, at collage and throughout his whole life. During his childhood at California he was always picked on at school. Kids taunted him so much and so badly that he developed a hot temper.
When Jackie was growing up, whenever he would sense or be involved in legal injustice he would get really mad and there would be nothing he could of done about it.
At the University of California in Los Angeles, Jackie met his future wife, Rachel Islam. Jackie starred in four sports. Some have said that Jackie was the greatest American athlete, arguing that he was better at track & field, football and basketball than baseball. Later after college he joined the Negro Leagues to play professional baseball. If Blacks wanted to play professional baseball in 1946, they had to do so in the segregated Negro Leagues. Negro leagues started in 1920. They created these leagues because whites didnít want blacks to play with them. They wanted the MLB to be clean white.
Jackie Robinson was drafted into the army in 1942. He had a series of many conflicts as he rose to the rank of lieutenant. The worst one was when Jackie was sitting in the front seats of a military bus. The front seats were the white people seats, and Jackie was arrested and was almost dishonorably discharged and perhaps never heard from again. There is nothing worse than being dishonorably discharged in the 1940ís. Back then if you were dishonorably discharged from the army, everyone knew you for it, it would be your entire reputation. Everyone would know you and tease you for what you did wrong to become dishonorably discharged from the Army.
Itís a good thing that Jackie Robinson wasnít dishonorably discharged, but he was acquitted instead. He wouldnít have been playing in the MLB if he was dishonorably discharged because Branch Rickey would of picked someone else for his first black player. But it 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first black player to play in the MLB for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Jackie Robinson was the first black to play professional baseball in the MLB because Branch Rickey wanted to recruit black players onto his team. Rickey never clearly explained the motivations for this dramatic turnaround. ďI couldnít face my God much knowing that His black creatures are held separate and distinct from his white creatures in the game that has given me all I own.Ē Branch Rickey said.
Jackie Robinson was a huge step to integration because he ended segregation for baseball. He was voted the National Leagueís MVP in 1949 when he hit a league-leading .342 and drove in 124 runs. But it wasnít a party being the first black to play Major League Baseball when he first started because white America did not react so well to the integration in Major League Baseball. Baseball was the big thing in 1947 because there was no lacrosse, there was no hockey and little football. So when Jackie Robinson played baseball then with everyone being prejudice, they taunted him, made fun of him, didnít want to play with him, everything!
He had many rough experiences being the only black player out on the fields. His teammates didnít want to share a room with him at away games, his teammates didnít want to play on the same team with him because a ďBlackĒ man was on the teamÖor even have a simple warm-up catch with him, the crowds were nasty and prejudice towards him, and the worst of all, when the other team saw that a black man was on the Brooklyn Dodgers, they said they were going on strike andor the coach ordered the players to taunt Jackie Robinson on purpose!
Jackie being the only black to play in the MLB took a while of getting used to for white America. Everyone started to notice that Jackie was playing very well, and that he never even thought of quitting even though teammates and crowds tortured him like crazy. After his teammates realized that he was a really good person and that he was a good player, Jackie gained their teammatesí respect. They actually defended him from other teams. One time, a player from another team was taunting Jackie Robinson so badly that after the game, the whole Dodger team ganged up on that one man.
Besides baseball Jackie Robinson was working to achieve equality for blacks during the Civil Rights Movement. In 1949, there was going to be a war between America and Russia. Paul Robeson made a speech in Paris announcing that African Americans should never fight a war against Russia. He said this because Russia treated blacks better there than they did here in America in the 1940ís. Robinson was against Robesonís speech and made a testimony towards his speech because Jackie thought that even though America wasnít perfect, you still should fight for you country.
Jackie Robinson is an important figure to future blacks because it gives African Americans confidence in themselves. Jackie Robinson led the road for other blacks to play in the Major leagues. If Jackie Robinson could get through life like he did with segregation and prejudices in the army and major leagues, anyone can.
Jackie Robinson Retired from Baseball on 1956. He was also elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. Jackie Robinson Died October 24 1972. He died a non-happy man because he had a lot of bad experiences and bad times in his life.