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Jackie Robinson

  • Early Life

    Early Life
    Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson was born on January 31, 1919 to Mallie and Jerry Robinson in Cairo, Georgia, U.S. He was the youngest of five siblings, raised by his single mother. The siblings in birth order were Edgar, Frank. Mack, and Willa Mae. His father left the family six months after he was born. He ran off with another woman.
  • The Robinsons move to California

    The Robinsons move to California
    After his father left, his mother decided to move the family out to California. Jackie was only sixteen months old. Jackie's mother took a job washing and ironing clothes. His mother was a very busy person, and she always went to work before sunrise, and always returned from work late. Jackie had a lot of free time, so he had some jobs. The rest of the time that he had free, he stole things from stores. He mostly stole food. Jackie was also a member of the Pepper Street gang.
  • John Muir High School

    John Muir High School
    In 1935, Robinson graduated from Washington Junior High School and enrolled at John Muir High School. Robinson's older brothers Mack and Frank inspired Jackie to pursue his interest in sports. Robinson played several sports at the varsity level. He lettered in football, basketball, track, and baseball. He was also a member of the tennis team.
  • Pasadena Junior College

    Pasadena Junior College
    After Muir, Robinson attended Pasadena Junior College, where he continued his athletic career by participating in basketball, football, baseball, and track. Also while at PJC, he was elected to the Lancers, a student-run police organization responsible for patrolling various school activities. He was elected to the All-Southland Junior College Team for baseball and selected as the region's M.V.P. In January he was arrested after yelling at the police for detaining his friend.
  • UCLA

    Robinson transferred to UCLA, where he became the school's first athlete to win varsity letters in four sports. Baseball was Robinsons "worst sport" at UCLA. While a senior at UCLA, Robinson met his future wife, Rachel Isum, a UCLA freshman who was familiar with Robinson's athletic career at PJC. Jackie left college just shy of graduation in 1941.
  • After College

    After College
    After college, Jackie signed up to play baseball for the Honolulu Bears, a minor league team. After the season, Jackie made plans to go back to California and visit his mother and his bride-to-be, Rachel. The ship that he was traveling on left the dock at Pearl Harbor on December 5, 1941, two days before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. After he arrived in California, he heard that the Army was drafting, and being a good American, he went and signed up.
  • Military Career

    Military Career
    Robinson was drafted and assigned to a segregated Army cavalry unit in Fort Riley, Kansas. Robinson and several other black soldiers applied for admission to an Officer Candidate School (OCS) then located at Fort Riley. Robinson and his colleagues were delayed for several months. Upon finishing OCS, Robinson was commissioned as a second lieutenant in January 1943. Shortly afterward, Robinson and Isum were formally engaged.
  • End to Military Career

    End to Military Career
    Robinson boarded an Army bus with a fellow officer's wife; although the Army had commissioned its own unsegregated bus line, the bus driver ordered Robinson to move to the back of the bus. Robinson refused. The driver backed down, but after reaching the end of the line, summoned the military police, who took Robinson into custody. He went to court and his court-martial proceedings prohibited him from being deployed overseas, so he never saw combat action.
  • Negro Leagues

    Negro Leagues
    The Kansas City Monarchs sent him a written offer to play professional baseball in the Negro leagues. Robinson accepted a contract for $400 dollars per month. The hectic travel schedule also placed a burden on his relationship with Isum, with whom he could now communicate only by letter. Jackie also appeared in the 1945 Negro League All-Star Game. During the season, Robinson pursued potential major-league interests. Branch Rickey committed to formally signing Robinson before November 1.
  • Minor Leagues

    Minor Leagues
    On February 10, 1946, Robinson and Isum were married by their old friend, the Rev. Karl Downs. He joined the all-white Montreal Royals, a farm team for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He later moved to Florida to begin spring training with the Royals. Robinson had soon got the call to come to the majors.
  • Major Leaugue

    Major Leaugue
    Six days before the start of the 1947 season, the Dodgers called Robinson up to the major leagues. Jackie Robinson played his first game in Ebbets Field for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. He became the first African-American to play major league baseball. People in the crowds sometimes jeered at Robinson, and he and his family received threats.
  • Rookie of The Year

    Rookie of The Year
    Jackie Robinson succeeded in putting the prejudice and racial strife aside, and showed everyone what a talented player he was. He helped the Dodgers win the National League pennant. That year, Robinson led the National League in stolen bases and was selected as Rookie of the Year. He also earned the National League's Most Valuable Player Award.
  • World Series

    World Series
    In his decade-long career with the Dodgers, Robinson and his team won the National League pennant several times. Finally, in 1955, he helped them achieve the ultimate victory, the World Series. After failing before in four other series match-ups, the Dodgers beat the New York Yankees.
  • Robinson Retires

    Robinson Retires
    He helped the team win one more National League pennant the following season, and was then traded to the New York Giants. Jackie Robinson retired shortly after the trade, on January 5, 1957, with an impressive career batting average of .311. The Dodgers also retired his jersey number (42).
  • Hall of Fame

    Hall of Fame
    Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. In his later years, Robinson continued to lobby for greater integration in sports. His success in the major leagues opened the door for other African-American players, such as Satchel Paige, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron.
  • Jackie Robinson's death

    Jackie Robinson's death
    He died from heart problems and diabetes complications on October 24, 1972, in Stamford, Connecticut. After his death, his wife established the Jackie Robinson Foundation dedicated to honoring his life and work. The foundation helps young people in need by providing scholarships and mentoring programs.