Jackie and Jr.
Silver gelatin print
Purchased through gifts from Drewry Logan in memory of Philip Langan, Michael Ransmeier in memory of Uta Langan, and from William S. Clark '42; 2010.1.4
Jackie Robinson (1919-1972) is not only recognized for his exceptional athletic performance but also heralded for his pioneering role in the integration of Major League Baseball. In 1947, he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers and became the first African American to play for the league, breaking the color barrier that had segregated sports for over sixty years. His tremendous performance on the field earned him great (though contested) popularity, and he was voted rookie of the year in 1947 and most valuable player in 1949. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.
Despite the publicity and excitement that greeted his inclusion in the Dodgers, however, Robinson continued to suffer great discrimination. He was subjected to a stream of racial insults from crowds and opposing teams, some of whom refused to play against him. Some players on his own team refused to sit next to him on the bleachers and even threatened to strike rather than play with a black man. Pitchers often threw balls directly at his torso or head, a physical indignity as grueling as the stress of the hate mail and death threats he received. Yet his ultimate rejection of prejudice was always apparent in his stellar play—a tremendous achievement that no one, in the end, could deny. His renown as an able advocate of civil rights after his retirement from baseball distinguishes Robinson as an American hero whose legacy in the struggle for an end to racial discrimination lives on.
Last Updated: 4/22/10