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Jackie Robinson will go down in history as the one of the most humble, courageous, and fearless individuals of all time. Jackie Robinson took the biggest risk that any young black man could take during the late 1940s, when he became the first black person to play on a professional team. On April 15, 1947, Mr. Robinson became the first black player to play on a professional baseball team. Mr. Robinson was signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers which began his professional baseball career. Mr. Robinson had to deal with much racism and hatred around the country when he began his professional career as a baseball player.
Prior to 1947, great black baseball players, like Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige, had to play in the Negro Baseball League. The Negro Baseball League was considered mediocre compared to the professional “white” baseball league. Many whites, during this time, believed that blacks were inferior to them in education and sports. During this time period, blacks were treated like second class citizens, in the United States of America, and it was against the law for whites and blacks to intermingle or interact with each other. The laws that kept blacks and whites separate were called “Jim Crow Laws”, and the main purpose of these laws were to ensure that blacks remained in a servitude position. The “Jim Crow Laws” ensured that whites remained superior to blacks, and reminded blacks that no matter their educational or economic background they were still second class citizens. Blacks and whites were not allowed to interact with each other in every aspect of life, under “Jim Crow Laws”, in the following ways:
- Attended separate schools.
- Had separate hospitals for both races.
- Had to sit in separate seats on buses and trains.
- Had separate public restrooms and foundations for blacks and whites.
- Blacks and whites lived in separate communities.
- Blacks and whites did not interact with each other in sports or entertainment.
With Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier and integrating professional baseball, this was a major political statement in 1947. Jackie Robinson helped to advance the civil rights movement further in 1947 with this major move. Mr. Robinson helped to galvanize his generation to fight more for civil rights for people of color. The “civil rights movement” really came alive in the 1950s to the 1980s, due to Jackie Robinson integrating the segregated professional baseball league. Thanks to many great “civil rights movement icons” like Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King, and Fannie Lou Hamer, we were able to elect our first “Black President” in 2008 and 2012 (President Barack Obama).
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