Jackie Robinson: Civil Rights and Baseball Icon
Dating back to Ancient Rome, segregation has remained a major part of society. Segregation can happen in many different ways such as racial or religious segregation. In the United States racial segregation was widely common after slavery due to Jim Crow Laws. One major event that helped to abolish segregation was baseball. Unsurpassed in popularity, baseball was a national craze during the 1860’s. It was commonly best referred to as America’s “National Past Time.” With its growing popularity, more and more professional teams were being established until in 1876 the first Major League was organized. As with most things during that time period, baseball was notably segregated. Although there were fully African American amateur and professional teams, there were no integrated teams until the 1940’s. Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play in the Major Leagues and officially break the “color line.” Jackie Robinson was a civil rights activist who not only broke the color barrier in sports but also questioned the deeply rooted custom of segregation and paved the way for future African Americans.
Early life experiences lead Jackie to make a difference in civil rights. During his college years Jackie took an interest in sports. “Robinson became an outstanding all-around athlete at Pasadena Junior College and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He excelled in football, basketball, and track as well as baseball” (“Jackie Robinson”). In college Jackie earned four varsity letters. By doing so he proved that African Americans could be successful and achieve great things. Also, this experience was the foundation of Jackie’s sports career. After dropping out of college Jackie decided to join the U.S. Army. “He knew Robinson and black boxer Joe Louis had challenged the military's rules against allowing black enlisted men to become officers, and Jackie had become a second lieutenant” (West). This...
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