Jackie Robinson

The Legacy of Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinsons legacy will go down as one of the most prolific in sports history as well as in all of American history. Jackie paved the way for the civil rights movement. Not only his skill in athletics but his will and desire made Americans question the “seperate but equal” “equality” in America. I will be going over biography, his accomplishments, what he did outside of baseball and how all that he accomplished ties in to what we studied this year.


Jackie Robinson was born to a single mother in a sharecropping family in Georgia in 1919. As 1 of 5 kids Jackie grew up with much hardship and racism towards him and his family which only brought them closer together. He learned to make his way in his life, and ended up with varsity letters in 4 sports at UCLA, basketball, football, track, and of course baseball.  After monetary issues made Jackie have to leave UCLA he joined the army where he progressed through the ranks very quickly. After being court marshalled due to a “racial incident” he left the army. Shortly after he began playing in the negro league for the Kansas City Monarchs until 1947 when his life changed and he was approached by Branch Rickey to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Jackie was married and had 3 kids before he died in October 1972.

Few of many Accolades

  • Broke the color barrier in major league baseball in 1947 by becoming the first African-American player and first African-American player to make the Hall of Fame.
  • Named National League Rookie of the Year in 1947.
  • Led the National League in stolen bases in 1947 and 1949.
  • Led second basemen in double plays 1949, 1950, 1951 and 1952.
  • Selected as the National League MVP in 1949
  • Won the 1949 batting title with a .342.
  • National League All-Star Team, 1949-1954.
  • Had a career batting average of .311 with the Dodgers, .333 in All-Star games Led the Dodgers to six World Series and one World Series Championship in a 10-year span.

Outside of Baseball

Jackie Robinson was a large part in the movement and did many great things outside of baseball as well, including:

  • Starred in “The Jackie Robinson Story” in 1950.
  • Opened a men’s apparel store on 125th street in Harlem from 1952-1958.
  • Signed a contract with WNBC and WNBT to serve as Director of Community Activities in 1952.
  • Became Vice President of Chock Full O’Nuts in 1957.
  • Served in numerous campaigns and on the board of directors for the NAACP from 1957-1967.
  • Established the Jackie Robinson Construction Company in 1970 to build housing for families with low incomes.
  • Wrote an autobiography “I Never Had It Made.”
  • Helped establish the Freedom National Bank.

Tying it together with our class

Segregation in America was not good for the economy. Jackie Robinson with the help of many other people paved the way for a reform to the “seperate but equal” doctrine and segregation in the US. Desegregation gave African-Americans the right to go to better schools, get better jobs and have the oppurtunities that white people were already entitled to. With African-Americans having the right to get an education and be creative many things were invented that have been very successful in America including potato chips, the blood bank, gas masks, etc. In a diagram shown below it shows arguments of Douglas Massey and Nancy Denton in American Apartheid(Harvard UP, 1993) on how segregation causes poverty.


More information as well as explations for each example can be found on http://www.umich.edu/~lawrace/consequences.htm

Other sources I used throughout my project are