Jackie Robinson and integration are two phrases that cannot be segregated. Whether he liked it or not, he played the star role in the integration of society during the time that he played Major League Baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers. His heroic journey that landed him in the Majors shows, “how integration has come to baseball and how it can be achieved in every corner of the land” (Robinson 16). But this amazing triumph over the Jim Crow laws could only have been possible in New York as Robinson says, “Cooperstown, New York, and Birmingham, Alabama, are both in the Unites States. In Cooperstown I had been the guest of honor in the company of three other new Hall of Famers: Bill McKechnie, Edd Roush and Bob Feller. In Birmingham I was ‘that negrah who pokes his nose into other peoples’ puddin’” (14).
Jackie Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia on January 31, 1919 and was raised by his mother in Pasadena, California. He attended UCLA, where he was a baseball, basketball, football and track star. He played semi-professional football for a short time in an integrated league with the Honolulu Bears before being drafted into the army. He was honorably discharged in 1945 with the rank of second lieutenant. Robinson then started to play in the Negro National League and was eventually seen by a scout for the Brooklyn Dodgers. The scout brought Robinson to the attention of team president Branch Rickey, who wanted to try out his “noble experiment” of integrating the Major League. The Major League was closed to black players at the time because no owners would sign a black man to their teams. Even a year after Robinson’s historic signing, the owners of the teams voted 15 to 1 (with Rickey dissenting) against integrating the league (Rampersad 160). Jackie Robinson, however, did sign a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1945 and debuted in the Majors in April of 1947. He was...
Cited: 1. Rampersad, Arnold. Jackie Robinson. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997.
2. Robinson, Jackie. I Never Had It Made. As told to Alfred Duckett. New York:
3. Robinson, Jackie. Baseball Has Done It. Ed. Charles Dexter. Philadelphia and New
York: J. B. Lippincott, 1964.
4. Robinson, Rachel, and Lee Daniels. Jackie Robinson, An Intimate Portrait. Ed.
Sharon AvRutick. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1996.
5. Tygiel, Jules. Baseball’s Great Experiment, Jackie Robinson and His Legacy. New York: Oxford, 1997.
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