Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia on January 31, 1919. When he was just a year old, Jackie moved to Pasadena, California in 1920. As Jackie got older he went on to become a university student at UCLA (University of California Los Angeles). While he was at UCLA, Jackie was a star in football, basketball, track and baseball.
After leaving UCLA without a degree, Jackie joined the United States army in 1942. He was part of an all black tank unit known as the 761st tank unit.
When Robinson was at Fort Hood, Texas military base he got onto a bus and refused to go to the back of the bus, because of the fact that they had just recently made a law that blacks had to go to the back of the bus. Originally he and all blacks were allowed to sit anywhere they chose to on the bus.
When Robinson broke the law he was court-martialed and was not shipped out to Europe.
In 1944 Jackie went to play baseball for the Kansas City Monarchs of the American Negro League. While he was playing there, a scout by the name of Clyde Sukeforth was very impressed. This scout was working for a man named Branch Rickey who worked for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Jackie was signed and sent to the AAA affiliate in Montréal. Jackie made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947.
This event is known as one of the key moments in Civil Rights history and a key moment in Major League Baseball. Robinson was commonly abused by opponents and spectators as he made his journey through his first MLB season. In a game on April 22 he was told by players on the Philadelphia Phillies to “go back to the jungle”.
Robinson persevered in 1947 and was named the National League Rookie of the Year. In 1949 Jackie Robinson was named the Most Valuable Player of the National League. Jackie Robinson also led his team to the National League pennant in 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955 and 1956. Jackie Robinson played his final game on September 30, 1956.
Jackie was finally rewarded for his contributions to the game of baseball in 1962 when he was inducted in the Hall of Fame of Baseball. Jackie Robinson died in Stamford, Connecticut on October 24, 1972 from complications of diabetes.
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