Jackie Robinson and the Civil Rights Movement

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To the average person, in the average American community, Jackie Robinson was just what the sports pages said he was, no more, no less. He was the first Negro to play baseball in the major leagues. Everybody knew that, but to see the real Jackie Robinson, you must de-emphasize him as a ball player and emphasize him as a civil rights leader. That part drops out, that which people forget. From his early army days, until well after his baseball days, Robinson had fought to achieve equality among whites and blacks. "Jackie acted out the philosophy of nonviolence of Martin Luther King Jr., before the future civil rights leader had thought of applying it to the problem of segregation in America"(Weidhorn 93). Robinson was an avid member of the NAACP and helped recruit members because of his fame from baseball. Jackie had leadership qualities and the courage to fight for his beliefs. Unwilling to accept the racism he had run into all his life, he had a strong need to be accepted at his true worth as a first-class citizen. Robinson was someone who would work for a cause - that of blacks and of America - as well as for himself and his team.

"In his early days in the Army, he established himself as a fighter for civil rights"(Weidhorn 40-1). The U.S. Army was segregated about the time Robinson enlisted. He felt for the first time in his life what it was like to be a second-class citizen as a part of his daily life. Jackie had too much pride though, to let things stay the way they were. Many blacks accepted how things were in the army. Robinson knew that if he tried hard enough, he could change things. One particular event caused Robinson to stand up for his rights, almost to the point of being court-martialed from the Ar...

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...anged those around him and changed the way people lived their lives. Robinson was someone who worked for a cause not only for himself, but also for his fellow Negroes, and his country. His work for civil rights not only came when he had to provoke a change for his advancement, but even after he had advanced, he did not forget his fellow Negroes. His acts in the 1950's, 1960's and shortly in the 1970's has helped and influenced America to end segregation and racism in the world.


Ducket, Alfred. I Never Had It Made: An Autobiography of Jackie Robinson. Hopewell, NJ: The Ecco Press. 1995

Robinson, Rachel. Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait. New York: A Times Mirror Company. 1996.

Weidhorn, Manfred. Jackie Robinson. New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Company. 1993
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