The Fight For Equality And Civil Rights In The Life And Career Of Jackie Robinson
The phrase “America’s favorite pastime” has become a common term in the United States. Few Americans can’t imagine a baseball pitch with green grass and red dirt. White lines are also added to the picture. Baseball was a big part of American life for many decades. The first half of 1900s wasn’t any different. African Americans also continued to struggle for the rights they were denied. Jackie Robinson was one of many players who were involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Jackie Robinson, who was the first African American in history to play in major league Baseball, played an important role in the Civil Rights movement. Jackie Robinson used the attention, respect and recognition that baseball brought to the African American community to help them.
Baseball was a key player in Civil Rights because of its enormous popularity. Baseball fans also “were more interested in the performance of the player than their race or color” (73). Robinson used his talent and these ideals to establish himself as a baseball star. He gained popularity as he became known for his ability to excel in baseball. James A. Mannix became a fan of Robinson. “The baseballs you [Robinson] struck went far and wide and people with narrowmindedness finally craned their heads and saw the light,” (101). Robinson used his newly discovered baseball fame to gain access to racism and injustice for African Americans.
Robinson’s first victory in the fight against racism and civil rights was achieved through baseball. After the country recognized his name, Robinson could speak out against racism and Civil Rights issues. He would fight for what was right and get things done. He wrote in newspapers that he was against the notion that “playing a sport is one matter and a man’s color is another”(79). Robinson praised baseball for its progress in integrating the game, but called on it to do more. “As far as the fans are concerned, we can continue making progress” (113). Robinson wrote three letters to presidents. The first was addressed to Dwight D. Eisenhower in which he explained that African Americans were “the most patient” of all people (116), that they tired of hearing that this should continue. Another letter went to John F. Kennedy asking him for action to save Martin Luther King Jr. and not be killed by murderous maniacs. Jackie Robinson wasn’t satisfied to be the first American to integrate baseball. He took it a step further, encouraging and remaining strong through hate and malice to push forward and try to make a change for all African Americans from every perspective. Baseball is where he became famous, but the respect he gained from his fame allowed him to make the changes he felt necessary at the time.
Jackie Robinson’s name is well-known and discussed in the United States. In his short life, he achieved a lot in his fights for Civil Rights and Equality. Jessie Jackson spoke kindly of Robinson in her eulogy, including the kind statement, “He did not integrate baseball for himself.” He infiltrated baseball for us all. “His powerful arm lifted not only the bats but also barriers.” (132). Robinson integrating Baseball “turned a stumbling stone into a step” (132). This gave African Americans re-motivation and the power of his name in pushing for changes. His achievements on the baseball field, and his Civil Rights work, which were intertwined with each other, are still well known today. They have earned him a place in all American history textbooks.