Professional Sports And The Civil Era

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Professional sports were segregated in the United States, just like the rest of the country was during the 1940s, but between the cooperation of two men the color barrier was broken in professional sports. The unwritten rule of not allowing blacks to play professional baseball had been standing since the 1880s. No professional sport in America at the time had any participating African Americans, yet many African Americans were participating in the Olympics. Famous African American olympians, such as Jesse Owens and John Taylor, were highly celebrated for their accomplishments, yet no change was made within the professional sports world. Robinson was not the first attempt at breaking the color barrier in professional sports but Branch Rickey, the President and GM of the Dodgers, felt he was the one to complete the transformation. The African Americans in the United States were still playing baseball beyond college at this time, but in their own collection of leagues called the “Negro Major Leagues.” African Americans were able to play in some of the integrated colleges around the country but the integration ended there. They were allowed to play in Major League Baseball but it just did not happen, the MLB commissioner of the time Judge Landis said, “there was no rule on the books prohibiting a black man from joining a major league team. It was up to the owners to hire whom they pleased” (Golenbock). Judge Landis had no problem stating the fact that they were allowed to play
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