Biography (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Robinson was the first black to play in the major leagues and as such is known for breaking the “color line” in baseball. A hero for his brilliant career with the Brooklyn Dodgers, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Jack Roosevelt, or Jackie (as he was known throughout his adult life), Robinson was the fifth child born to Mallie and Jerry Robinson, share-croppers of Cairo, Georgia. Robinson’s grandparents had been slaves. When he was six months old, his father abandoned the family, and a year later his mother took the family to Pasadena, California, where Robinson grew up. Although poor, Robinson’s mother saved money and ultimately purchased a house in a previously all-white neighborhood. This was Robinson’s first experience as a pioneer in integration. As a child, Robinson excelled in all sports. In high school, junior college, and at the University of California at Los Angeles, Robinson starred in baseball, basketball, football, and track. In 1938, at Pasadena Junior College, he broke the national junior college record for the broad jump, previously set by his older brother, Mack Robinson, who himself had won a silver medal at the 1936 Olympics. In 1939, he entered UCLA, where he became the school’s first letterman in four sports. Robinson’s best sport was football; in 1941, he was named an All-American. That year, he dropped out of college to earn money for his...
(The entire section is 2765 words.)
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