Jackie Robinson

by Joshua Greenwood from Cochrane, Alberta in Canada

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”

  • Jackie Robinson


148653Jackie Robinson web JoshI chose Jackie Robinson because he inspired lots of African American people to play sports. And I could not imagine sports without black people.This book is a biography and is 42 pages long. The span of time that the book covers is from 1919 to 1972, that is over 53 years!. This book was written in 2016 by Josh Gregory, who has written more than 80 books covering a wide section of subjects, and he lives in Chicago, Illinois.

148394Jackie Robinson PortraitJoshJackie Robinson was born in Cairo Georgia, but grew up in Pasadena, California. The Robinsons were the only black  family on his block. Jackie was raised by  his mother (Mallie), and his four siblings: Mack Robinson, Frank Robinson , Edgar Robinson and Willa Mae Robinson. Jackie’s father (Jerry) left when he was 6 months old. The Robinson’s were natural athletes. Jackie's brother Mack was good at sports and got a silver medal in track and field. This influenced Jackie to dream to become a pro athlete. Jackie went to school at John Muir Technical high school and was really good at sports. He was always the player that other kids wanted on their team. After high school he went to Pasadena junior college and led the school to championships in football, baseball, and basketball. In 1939 he was offered a scholarship at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) . He was the top scorer on the basketball team and was considered one of the best football players in the country. In his free time he had a busy social life. In the spring of 1941, he had to leave UCLA to find a job as his mom was struggling to make ends meet.

148654Jackie Robinson batting pictureJoshIn the mid-20th century the United States was divided. In 1865 Slavery had ended, Americans were free, but they were not treated equally. Black and white Americans were segregated. This impacted his life: he could not play in the major leagues, and the army would not let him into Officer Candidate school, because he was African American. In 1944 a bus driver told Jackie to sit at the back of the bus, away from white people and he refused. This broke military law and although he was tried and found not guilty the trial bothered him greatly and he asked to be released from service. With no job he needed to earn money and so he joined the Baseball Negro League Teams, who were owned and operated by black people. This was the only way to play professional  baseball and make some money. It was a hard way to live with long hours, lots of travel, and not a lot of money. In 1945 Jackie meets Branch Rickey, a baseball scout who tells Jackie that he wants him to become the first black player in the major leagues, because his actions in the army showed that he could confront racism. He was chosen because he could handle pressure and Jackie was up for the challenge. Rickey stood by Jackie whenever Jackie needed someone to help him. For example, Royal’s manager did not want Jackie to play, Ricky told the manager he had no choice. Jackie first started playing for the Montreal Royals where he was able to gain the respect of both his manager and teammates. He led the Royals to a championship that season. In 1947 the Royals and Dodgers went to spring training together. The Dodgers complained and Ricky threatened to fire them. In 1947, Jackie Robinson took to the field as a Dodger. At  times he was unsupported, treated poorly, insulted, threatened,but Jackie never fought back, just kept moving forward. Jackie believed people would use a fight as an excuse to say black players shouldn’t be in the league.In 1949 Jackie was named the league’s most valuable player. In 1947, 1949, 1952, and 1953, he led the Dodgers to the World Series. 

I found it surprising that the Robinson’s were the only black family on his block growing up. If I meet Jackie I would ask him who gave him the most support in his family, what was it like growing up in a segregated country, and how did he handle difficult situations. I would not have wanted to be his child as I would not have known how to handle racism and would get into a lot of fights.  I did not enjoy the book because I found it sad to read about how they treated African Americans, although there were lots of facts and good things about Jackie overcoming difficulties. I learned how Jackie was an inspiration to young African American athletes across the country and how to deal with difficult 456  situations by staying focused on the goal. I could apply that to my own life.  Others may not want to read this book because they are not interested in sports. I am happy I learned about this person and how to deal with difficult situations. Jackie is an inspiration to all athletes across the world today.

Page created on 5/17/2022 2:58:35 PM

Last edited 6/21/2022 4:40:29 PM

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Related Links

Jackie Robinson Wikipedia - Jackie Robinson Wikipedia
Jackie Robinson .com - Jackie Robinson .com
Jackie Robinson biography - Jackie Robinson biography
Jackie Robinson history web - Jackie Robinson history web
Jackie Robinson athlete biography - Jackie Robinson athlete biography