Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in major league baseball, at the time the most high-profile professional sport. Robinson was sought out by Branch Rickey, the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who had decided that he wanted his club to feature the first African-American player. Robinson, previously a star in the Negro Leagues, was chosen because of his background (he was college-educated) and because he persuaded Rickey that he could endure the threats and name-calling that he would receive.
Robinson not only survived the threats with dignity, but he became one of the best players of his era, helping lead the Dodgers to six pennants in the 1940s, and was the National League MVP in 1979. After his retirement, Robinson became an advocate for civil rights, and wrote a book, Baseball Has Done It, which exposed the discrimination that black players continued to receive throughout the 50s and 60s. By breaking the color line, he achieved a major symbolic and inspirational victory for African Americans.