Jackie Robinson And The Civil Rights Movement

1414 Words Apr 16th, 2015 6 Pages
In the pre-dawn of the Civil Rights Movement, the 1940s were rife with racial tension. Nearly all public institutions were segregated. Libraries, schools, transportation, the armed forces. Sports teams were just as rigorously divided into two sects--the Negro leagues and the major leagues. There was no question about which division a black man would play for. Nobody dared cross the rift between whites and blacks; they were too afraid. Eventually, however, all it took was one man to begin breaking down the barrier. Jackie Robinson’s time in baseball’s major leagues broke color lines and brought about significant social changes both on and off the field. Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born on January 31, 1919 in Cairo, Georgia. His parents, Mallie and Jerry Robinson, were from poor sharecropping families and had four other children--Willa Mae, Edgar, Frank, and Matthew “Mack” (who later became a silver medalist at the 1936 Summer Olympics). When Jackie, the youngest, was barely one year old, his father left the family. Mallie Robinson moved her children from Cairo to a relatively poor neighborhood in Pasadena, California. Jackie Robinson was often excluded from activities and spent a short time in a gang (he was persuaded to abandon it by a friend). In 1935, Robinson was enrolled at John Muir High School, where he was inspired by his athletic older brothers to play sports. Soon he was playing at varsity level in many events, including football, baseball, and track and field. He…
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