Breaking Barries the Jackie Robinson Way

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Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson was born on January 31, 1919 in Cairo, Georgia to Jerry and Mallie Robinson, both of whom were sharecroppers. In 1920, after his father had left the family, Jackie, his mother, and four older siblings moved to Pasadena, California. In 1935, Jackie graduated Washington Junior High School and entered John Muir High School. In high school, he played a variety of varsity sports and lettered in football, basketball, baseball, and track. After graduating high school, he transferred to UCLA where he became the school’s first athlete to letter in varsity football, basketball, baseball, and track. In 1942, Jackie was drafted and assigned into a segregated Army Calvary unit in Fort Riley, Kansas. At Fort Riley, there was an Officer Candidate School (OCS) to which he and several other black soldiers applied for admission. Although the guidelines stated that OCS was race-neutral, few black applicants gained entrance and many applications, including those of Jackie and his colleagues, were delayed for several months. He was finally able to gain admittance when heavyweight boxing champion, Joe Lewis, and Truman Gibson protested. At that time, Lewis was stationed at Fort Riley and Gibson was an assistant civilian aide to the Secretary of War. Jackie graduated OCS on January 28, 1943 with a rank of second lieutenant and later became engaged to Rachel Isum, who he met while he was a senior and she was a freshman at UCLA. The couple would eventually have three children, and all but one would outlive their father. On April 15, 1947, at the age of 28, he changed baseball forever by becoming the first African-American to play in the major leagues. On that fateful day, he played with the Brooklyn Dodgers before a crow... ... middle of paper ... ...d my courage and willpower. Every time I wanted to end my life, I was strong enough to overcome the urge. I was determined and persistent in my drive to destroy my stutter and my accent, and I eventually did. Although I have overcome the oppressors, there are still moments in which I believe what was said about me is true. When those moments arise, I remind myself that even if I, in moments of weakness, believe I’m not worth much, someone out there cares about me. In the same way that Jackie Robinson always remained true to himself and his own personal values, I too strive to steadfastly remain true to myself and my personal values. I hope that everyone will come to realize, as I have, that no matter how dark things may seem at the moment, there will always be a light of courage to guide us as we overcome adversities, so long as we embrace the Jackie Robinson way.

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