The Story of the First African American Professional Baseball Player - Jackie Robinson  

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For a long time, America has been known for breaking barriers in history. Breaking barriers in history is natural, physical, or ideological that has a positive or negative created by people or societies. For example, figures like Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman. Jackie Robinson a professional baseball player who played in the Major league was the very first African American male to do this. Jackie Robinson broke barriers in history, by being the first colored male to play baseball. This helped break color barriers that changed the culture and society of America.

Jack also is known as Jackie Roosevelt Robinson was named after President Theodore Roosevelt died twenty-five days before Robinson was born, and he helped inspire Jackie’s middle name. Jackie was born into a family of six, his parents were Mallie and Jerry Robinson. He grew up with three older brothers Mack, Edgar, Frank, and one older sister Willa Mae. He attended John Muir High School in California, then Pasadena Junior College, where he was an athlete that played four sports: football, basketball, track, and baseball. Not only did he play these four sports, but he also played tennis where he was named the region’s Most Valuable Player in baseball in 1938, but that is also when he played tennis and won the junior boys singles championship in the Pacific Coast Negro Tennis Tournament. After this he attended Washington Steam Management Program for about four years, then he went to Pasadena City College for two years, then to UCLA. During his time at UCLA, he became the first student in that college to win varsity letters in four sports. Despite his athleticism, he was forced to leave college just before graduation due to financial issues. Then the following year Jackie was drafted into the army during which was during World War II when most men were instructed to go into duty. He was assigned to a segregated Army cavalry unit in Fort Riley, Kansas. During this time Jackie became friends with a boxing champion name Joe Lewis, they used his celebrity to protest the delayed entry of black soldiers in an officer candidate school. At this time Robinson was arrested when he refused to sit in the back of an unsegregated bus. Due to this, he received an honorable discharge in 1944.

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The following year in 1945 Jackie Robinson signed a contract with the Kansas City Monarchs where he played shortstop and later on eventually placed in Negro League All-Star Game. A year later he married Rachel Islam and had three beautiful children named Jackie Jr., Sharon, and David. With Robinson’s incredible baseball skills he became the rookie of the year with a batting average .297, 12 home runs and more. One of Jackie’s friends named Larry Doby was another African American baseball player in the American League, the same year as Robinson. When people found out that Jackie was playing for the LA Dodgers he started to get violent and hasty racial slurs from people. When one of his teammates found Dee Wee Reese found out he spoke up about it and said that “You can hate a man for many reasons. Color is not one of them.” At this moment this is where he would break the color barrier. Even though he had racial comments and put-downs, Jackie never gave up, and today people are recognizing Jackie as the first African American in the twentieth century. Robinson breaking the color barrier influenced not only America itself but many people around the world. Jackie Robinson strived for equal rights, he was also an effective figure during the civil rights movement. African Americans during that time struggled to find jobs because of their skin color. But now people are seeing others as an individual and not mainly by the color many African Americans are able to acquire jobs for themselves. Someone that was influenced by Jackie was, Harry Truman the thirty third president, because of Robinsons impact he ordered armed forces to be integrated, where they work together and not be separated by the shade of color. The Civil Rights Movement thrived due to Jackie, when he broke the color barrier in sports. When Robinson was playing baseball during that time, he faced defamatory remarks, and even death threats from fans and others, because of his shade of color. But he didn’t let that get in the way of his career. It just shows that even though things may put you down, your courage and determination can get you somewhere. Which is why Jackie Robinson altered society as to what it is now, where many people in America work or play in sports with people of different colors.

After Jackie retired from his career, he became a businessman and became active in politics. He truly wanted to influence this country in a positive way. During the years that followed his retirement, many major events happened which also help to break the barrier of racism. With the formation of the Congress of Racial Equality, then the March on Washington featuring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. People began to change perspectives of others by the content of their character rather than the skin color of a person. Unfortunately, even though the racial barrier is blurred it still affects society today. Robinson may not have intended to play such a major role for equal rights when he broke the color barrier in baseball, but as an individual, he greatly influenced our country for the better. As he told a white sportswriter from New Orleans, ‘We ask for nothing special. We ask only to be permitted to live as you live and as our nation’s Constitution provides.’

In conclusion, overall Robinson was a key figure in history, he displayed extraordinary leadership. As a professional baseball player, he gave speeches and raised money in support of various civil rights groups, but even after his career as a professional baseball player, he still continued to be an advocate for African Americans and many others. His efforts in the business world helped give African Americans equal opportunities they deserve to have. Jackie Robinson’s influence both on and off the field cannot be understated and will never be matched because he set a path for many colored people in sports and many other things. Today not many athletes obtain his combination of star talent and social awareness. His untimely death on October 24, 1972 left a vacant space that has yet to be filled. Even though he died early on in his life he not only changed professional baseball forever, but all of Americas sports and the future of our country.

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