The Legacy of Jackie Robinson

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The legacy of Jackie Robinson goes beyond the April 15, 1947 afternoon at Ebbets Field, when the Brooklyn Dodger infielder became the first black in the 20th century to play baseball in the major leagues. He changed the sport, and he changed the attitude of a lot of people in this country, Jackie Robinson fought for all the people that were fortunate, a lot of them are, especially the minority guys, to be able to play in the major leagues and the impact on the people of color today. Robinson was an undeniably great player who had some of his best years stolen from him. He was a speedster who led his team to six World Series, won Rookie of the Year honors, an MVP award and was a six-time All-Star. But it's not because of his marvelous career that Jackie's number 42 is retired in every major league ballpark. It's because on a chilly afternoon in 1947 at Ebbets Field, Robinson took the diamond for the Dodgers to become the first black man to play in a major league baseball game in the modern era. His stellar play and moreover, his poise under fire paved the way for baseball integration, as barriers broke down in baseball, they also started to crumble in society at large. While Jackie is best remembered for integrating major league baseball, an incident that occurred before his fame as a Dodger heralded his future as a warrior in the battle for civil rights. America entered World War II, as in most of America at the time; blacks suffered the indignation of segregation. Jim Crow laws – the name given to the laws that created whites only restaurants, hotels, restrooms and other segregation – held sway in the Army, too. Jim Crow rules called for white officers to lead black men in their segregated outfits. But the necessities of war were beginning to change things. Jackie was accepted to an integrated Officer Candidate School and assigned to Camp Hood, in Texas. It was there that he became entangled in an incident that nearly ended his military...
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