Jackie Robinson’s book I Never Had It Made let me know the man behind his superstar baseball career and beyond. The book covered most of his life from hardcore racial discrimination he experienced on and off the field to the joy and love of his family. Before reading this book I really only knew him as a legendary baseball player and knew very little of his political work or his collaborations and disagreements with politicians and famous civil rights advocates. I really liked the book because it showed the obstacles he overcame in sports and as a human being with personal problems like all of us, and it highlighted his work over the years as a civil rights activist. He was a man of integrity who made significant personal sacrifices for future black athletes as a baseball player and then used his fame, connections and ambition to strive for equality for African Americans in the United States.
After a great showing, lettering in multiple sports in high school, he began at U.C.L.A. He excelled at sports, met his future wife, yet still felt the deep need to help his mother, a widow who had struggled to feed her children so he chose to drop out of college and pursue other options. Like many ambitious young men in the Army during WWII, he applied to officer school and passed the exam. Unlike his white counterparts, he found his success stalled and contemplated, “It was then that I received my first lesson about the fate of a black man in a Jim Crow Army” . Although he did later graduate OCS, used his rank and position to argue for equity for fellow black soldiers, he was nearly court marshalled near the end of his military career for refusing to conform to rigid racist etiquette on base. He would not back down and go to the back ...
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...leys of bigotry, betrayal and family crisis. His intent in publishing this book seems to be dispelling the myth that his success came easy for him or any other African American. He says until the disease of racism is gone and all African Americans have truly equal rights and opportunities that, “… Jackie Robinson and no one else can say he has it made” . His words carry the message beyond his death, no one struggling for their constitutional rights ever has it made. No person of color has it made when perceptions and stereotypes based race deny that person the ability to drive or walk down the street unafraid of police harassment or even being killed. If you need blood due to surgery or accident to save your life, you will never know the race of the person who saved your life. We are all the same regardless of our skin, yet no Black American today really has it made.
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