On 100th birthday, Jackie Robinson remains relevant



Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play on a Major League Baseball team.

Zachary Phillips ’20, News Editor

Jackie Robinson made a huge impact in the MLB during his 10- year career, racking up a Rookie of the Year Award, six All-Star appearances, an MVP award, and a championship, but his accomplishments went beyond the game of baseball.


In an America riddled with racism against African Americans, Jackie proved they could play professional baseball. This year, America celebrates this American hero’s 100th birthday.


On Jan. 31, 1919, Jackie Robinson was born to a five child family in Georgia. His older brother, Mack Robinson, was an Olympian in 1936. Although Mack had won silver, when he returned home to America, the best job he could find was being a garbage collector due to his race. This would later go on to inspire Jackie in his Civil Rights career.


Not only did Robinson stand out in baseball, but he also became an athletic machine at Pasadena Junior College and later UCLA. He played basketball, football, track, and baseball. This illustrious college sports career would not excuse him from the segregation he would later face in his life.


While Jackie was in the army, he was court martialed for refusing to sit in the back of a segregated bus. He took this battle to court, until an agreement was made on an honorable discharge. Now that Jackie was out of the military, his only opportunity to play professional baseball was in the Negro Leagues. In 1945, he signed with the Kansas City Monarchs, the minor league affiliate of the Brooklyn Dodgers.


In 1947, Jackie was given the opportunity to play for the Dodgers. This was received with major uproar and racism. However, in spite of all the controversy, he still won MLB Rookie of the Year. Prior to Robinson’s arrival, the Dodgers were called “the bums,” but Jackie was able to raise the team to later win a championship.


After his outstanding career, Jackie became a business executive. His baseball career was over, but it was just the beginning of his Civil Rights career. Jackie would later on go to become a manager of the N.A.A.C.P., campaign with Martin Luther King Jr., open up a bank in Harlem, and much more.


Jackie Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He died of a heart attack in 1972. He had a lasting legacy on the Civil Rights Movement.


History instructor Kevin Fordon said, “Jackie Robinson was the first to break the color line in the MLB. He did it with such poise, even facing the fact that his teammates were against him. His actions inspired African Americans to stand up for equality. He turned the other cheek when faced with hatred and violence.”


Jackie will always be remembered as a hero. His actions gave the Civil Rights Movement more momentum, and inspired many other African American baseball players to pursue their dreams.