My name is Jackie Robinson and I was born on January 31, 1919. I was the first African-American to play in baseball’s major leagues in the modern era. I broke the baseball color line when the Brooklyn Dodgers started me at first base on April 15, 1947. The Brooklyn Dodgers were the first league team to play a black man since the 1880’s. The Dodgers ended racial segregation that had relegated black players to the Negro leagues for six decades. My character and unquestionable talent challenged the traditional basis of segregation and contributed significantly to the Civil Rights Movement.
In addition to my cultural impact, I had an excellent baseball career. Over the ten seasons, I played in six World Series and contributed to the Dodgers’ 1955 World Championship. I was also selected to six consecutive All-Star Games, from 1949-1954. I won the national league most valuable player award in 1949- the first black player so honored. I was inducted in the Baseball hall of fame in 1962. In 1977, the MLB “universally” retired my uniform number, 42, across all league teams. I was the first pro athlete in any sport to be so honored. On April 15, 2004, Major League Baseball has adopted a new annual tradition, “Jackie Robinson Day” on which every player on every team wears #42.
I was also known for my pursuits outside the baseball diamond. I was the first black television analyst in MLB, and the first black vice-president of an American corporation. In the 1960’s I helped establish the Freedom National Bank which is an African-American-owned financial institution based in Harlem, New York. In recognition of my achievements on and off the field, I was later awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. My breaking of the baseball color line and my professional success symbolized the bigger changes and demonstrated that the fight for equality was more than simply a political matter. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that I was "a...
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