- NAME: Jackie Robinson
- OCCUPATION: Baseball Player
- BIRTH DATE: January 31, 1919
- DEATH DATE: October 24, 1972
- EDUCATION: John Muir High School, Pasadena Junior College, University of California, Los Angeles
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Cairo, Georgia
- PLACE OF DEATH: Stamford, Connecticut
- Originally: Jack Roosevelt Robinson
Best Known For
Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to play major league baseball, becoming Rookie of the Year in 1947, National League MVP in 1949 and a World Series champ in 1955.
Jackie Robinson - Full Episode (22:48)
Watch a short video about Jackie Robinson and the many barriers he faced as Major League Baseball's first African-American player.
Jackie Robinson broke many boundaries as one of the greatest players in Brooklyn Dodger and Major League Baseball history.
While serving in the military, Jackie Robinson was arrested for refusing to move to the back of a segregated bus. In 1947, he made history when his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers ended racial segregation in Major League Baseball.
In his quest for excellence and equality, all-star athlete Jackie Robinson shatters the barriers of racism to become the first black baseball player to play in the major leagues.
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Born January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia, Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to play major league baseball. Throughout his decade-long career with the Brooklyn Dodgers, he made advancements in the cause of civil rights for black athletes. In 1955, he helped the Dodgers win the World Series. He retired in 1957, with a career batting average of .311.
"There's not an American in this country free until every one of us is free."
"The way I figured it, I was even with baseball and baseball with me. The game had done much for me, and I had done much for it."
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives."
"Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he's losing; nobody wants you to quit when you're ahead."
"The right of every American to first-class citizenship is the most important issue of our time."
"Above anything else, I hate to lose."
Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born on January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia. Breaking the color barrier, Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to play in baseball's major leagues. The youngest of five children, Robinson was raised in relative poverty by a single mother. He attended John Muir High School and Pasadena Junior College, where he was an excellent athlete and played four sports: football, basketball, track, and baseball. He was named the region's Most Valuable Player in baseball in 1938.
Robinson's older brother, Matthew Robinson, inspired Jackie to pursue his talent and love for athletics. Matthew won a silver medal in the 200-meter dash—just behind Jesse Owens—at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.
Jackie continued his education at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he became the university's first student to win varsity letters in four sports. In 1941, despite his athletic success, Robinson was forced to leave UCLA just shy of graduation due to financial hardship. He moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, where he played football for the semi-professional Honolulu Bears. His season with the Bears was cut short when the United States entered into World War II.
From 1942 to 1944, Robinson served as a second lieutenant in the United States Army. He never saw combat, however; Robinson was arrested and court-martialed during boot camp after he refused to move to the back of a segregated bus during training. He was later acquitted of the charges and received an honorable discharge. His courage and moral objection to segregation were precursors to the impact Robinson would have in major league baseball.
After his discharge from the Army in 1944, Robinson began to play baseball professionally. At the time, the sport was segregated, and African-Americans and whites played in separate leagues. Robinson began playing in the Negro Leagues, but he was soon chosen by Branch Rickey, president of the Brooklyn Dodgers, to help integrate major league baseball. He joined the all-white Montreal Royals, a farm team for the Brooklyn Dodgers, in 1946. He later moved to Florida to begin spring training with the Royals, and played his first game in Ebbets Field for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947.
Rickey knew there would be difficult times ahead for the young athlete, and made Robinson promise to not fight back when confronted with racism. From the beginning of his career with the Dodgers, Robinson's will was tested. Even some of his new teammates objected to having an African-American on their team.
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