Jackie Robinson And The Civil Rights Movement

1644 words - 7 pages

“There’s not an American in this country free until every one of us is free”(Brainy). This was a quote by the notorious baseball player Jackie Robinson. He was the first African American man to play baseball in an all-whites league. During the 1940s Robinson altered the way the world looked at baseball. Jackie Robinson affected the Civil Rights Movement in baseball and everyday life while putting up with numerous struggles and conflicts along the way.
Born in Cairo, Georgia on January 31, 1919 Jackie was the youngest of five children. His father left the family in 1920 and Robinson’s childhood was in relative poverty. Growing up, he adored playing sports at his high school, John Muir. One of his more prominent role models was his older brother Matthew. Matthew was an outstanding runner and won a silver medal at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Second only to Jesse Owens in the 200 meter dash. Jackie graduated with good grades and attended Pasadena Junior College. After that he went to UCLA to play four sports. He received a varsity letter in football, basketball, track, and of course baseball. However, despite his success he was forced to leave his senior year due to financial problems in 1941. He moved to Hawaii and played football for the Honolulu Bears but couldn’t complete the season because the United States entered World War II. He was second lieutenant from 1942 to 1944 in the United States Army. He received an honorable discharge regardless of the fact that he wouldn’t give up his seat on a segregated bus. He came back to the United States and started playing baseball professionally (Bio).
Upon returning home, he played for the Kansas City Monarchs. At this time African Americans were not permitted to play baseball in the white league so if they wanted to play professionally their only option was to play in the Negro leagues as they called them. He received an income of 400 dollars a month. The conversion from college to pro-baseball wasn’t exactly perfect for Jackie. He loved the way college had a structured and set schedule, but when coming to the Negro league there was almost no structure and gambling was high among the players and fans. Jackie Robinson only played 47 games for the Monarchs at the position of shortstop. He had a batting average of .387 recording five home runs and stealing 13 bases. Jackie wanted to join the all white league so he went to a tryout for African Americans to join the Boston Red Sox. When he arrived at the tryout, he saw no one there and the whole thing was a hoax. The Red Sox set the whole tryout up to show superiority over the Negro league.
Although Boston wasn’t interested in hiring a player from the Negro league the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey, was. Rickey wanted to integrate baseball because he thought he could avail greatly from it. There were myriads of African Americans in Brooklyn that loved baseball. He cogitated that if he hired an African American then tons more...

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