Little Known Black History Fact: Jackie Robinson

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    In 1947, black baseball player Jackie Robinson became the first black man to integrate major league baseball in America. Robinson was recruited by Branch Rickey, the owner of the Dodgers and the Montreal Royals (the international affiliate of the Dodgers). Robinson was already a star on the field of the Kansas City Monarchs. He was headed for more Negro League exhibition (barnstorm) games against the white major league players when Rickey was looking to integrate the team. But as the world of baseball began to change in the eyes of Branch Rickey, so did the life of a phenomenal baseball player from Cairo, Georgia. Robinson’s entire life was flipped upside-down and he was given a tremendous responsibility to make all people see the game of baseball in an entirely different way.

    After high school, Robinson attended UCLA, and became the first athlete to win varsity letters in four sports: baseball, basketball, football and track. He was named to the All-American football team in 1941. Lack of funds forced Robinson to leave college and join the military. He was on his way up the ranks until an incident involving racial discrimination resulted in a court marshal and honorable discharge from the Army.

    Robinson joined the Monarchs in 1945. In only two years of the Negro Leagues, he was recruited by Rickey for the Brooklyn Dodgers. In his first year with the MLB team, Robinson earned the title of Rookie of the Year with 12 homers, a league-leading 29 steals, and a .297 average.

    Personally, Jackie Robinson married college sweetheart Rachel Isum and the two had three children: Jackie Jr., Sharon and David Robinson.

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