jackie robinson biography

jackie robinson biography

Jackie Robinson: A Biography

Jack Roosevelt Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972) was an American professional baseball player who broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. His courage and talent paved the way for integration in baseball and American society as a whole.

Early Life and Education

Born in Cairo, Georgia, Robinson faced racial discrimination from a young age. His family moved to Pasadena, California, when he was a child, where he excelled in athletics at John Muir High School and Pasadena Junior College. He later transferred to UCLA, becoming the university’s first student to letter in four sports (football, basketball, track, and baseball). Despite his athletic achievements, Robinson was forced to leave UCLA due to financial hardship.

Military Service and the Negro Leagues

Robinson served in the U.S. Army during World War II, but he was court-martialed and acquitted on charges of disobeying an order he considered discriminatory. After his service, he played baseball for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues, where he quickly established himself as a star player.

Breaking the Color Barrier

In 1946, Branch Rickey, the president of the Brooklyn Dodgers, signed Robinson to a minor league contract, making him the first African American player contracted by a major league organization in the 20th century. Robinson faced immense pressure and hostility, including death threats, but he persevered with grace and dignity.

On April 15, 1947, Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier when he started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers against the Boston Braves. He faced continued discrimination and abuse throughout his career, but he responded with outstanding performance, winning the Rookie of the Year award in 1947 and the National League Most Valuable Player award in 1949.

Baseball Career and Legacy

Robinson played for the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1947 to 1956, winning a World Series championship in 1955. He was a six-time All-Star and retired with a career batting average of .311. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, and his number 42 was retired by all Major League Baseball teams in 1997.

Civil Rights Activism

Beyond baseball, Robinson was a vocal advocate for civil rights. He used his platform to speak out against discrimination and injustice, and he served on the board of the NAACP. His courage and activism helped to advance the cause of civil rights in the United States.

jackie robinson biography

Later Life and Death

After retiring from baseball, Robinson remained active in business and philanthropy. He died in 1972 at the age of 53.

Jackie Robinson’s legacy is one of courage, perseverance, and achievement. He broke down racial barriers in baseball and American society, and his impact continues to be felt today. His story is an inspiration to people of all ages and backgrounds.

Additional Information

  • Jackie Robinson married Rachel Isum in 1946, and they had three children.
  • Robinson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1983.
  • Major League Baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day on April 15th every year.
  • There are numerous books, movies, and documentaries about Jackie Robinson’s life and career.

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