Robinson Breaks the Color Line in Organized Baseball (Great Events from History II: Human Rights Series)
Article abstract: Until Jackie Robinson established himself as a major-league player, opening the way for other African Americans, organized baseball reinforced the hypocrisy of racism in the “land of the free”.
Summary of Event
In 1945, the United States was both triumphant and troubled. The most powerful nation in the world in the aftermath of World War II, the United States measured its strength not only in military and economic terms but also in the supposed moral superiority of American democracy. In 1945, however, segregation and racial exclusion remained the norms in American society. Even the U.S. armed forces were largely segregated. In the years following the war, Americans would have to come to terms with the gap between what their democracy was supposed to be and what it was. In this context, organized baseball extended an opportunity to African Americans and, in so doing, lost its status as a racist institution. The change did not come easily and might have been significantly delayed if not for Branch Rickey, the president of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The color line that excluded African Americans from organized baseball had its origins in the previous century and was solidly established. In 1923, it had been reinforced by an informal agreement among the major-league owners. This agreement was still very much in force in 1945, when Rickey decided to proceed with his plan to bring down baseball’s color...
(The entire section is 2520 words.)
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