Jackie Robinson and the Struggle for Equality in Baseball Essay

Jackie Robinson and the Struggle for Equality in Baseball Essay

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Jackie Robinson and the Struggle for Equality in Baseball

Baseball has always been known as America's pastime. But America's pastime, along with America's past, have both been saturated with the brutal force of racism. For hundreds of years, from the time of slavery until the middle of the 20th century, African-American children rounded up their friends and headed to the baseball diamond. There, for thousands of young black players, the smell of the grass, the cloud of dust that formed when running the ninety feet between bases, and the feeling of safely sliding into homeplate for a run marked the glimmer of fun and excitement in an otherwise dreary day. However, due to the color of their skin, black children were not awarded these luxuries. For aspiring black ballplayers, a baseball field with bats and actual baseballs would be a dream come true. Instead they were forced to play with rocks and sticks in an alley or run-down sandlot. But this would never stop them, the thrill and joy of baseball was too great. When playing, it seemed as if all their worries and fears floated away and only one thing mattered...baseball. Baseball was their escape, their livelihood, and the topic of all their hopes and dreams. For young black ballplayers, baseball was much more than a game. The word aspiring must also be clarified. See, for black players, one undeniable truth was always present. No matter how good you were, no matter how many homeruns or stolen bases you had, how hard you hit the ball or how fast you threw the ball, no matter if you had the ability to play with the best of the best, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and Mickey Mantle, there was one thing you never had...the right skin color. The word aspiring did not exist in the...

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In 1972, Jackie Robinson died, but his legacy never will. Today, the effects of Jackie Robinson can be seen wherever one looks. On the covers of Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Rolling Stones, and even the Wall Street Journal, African-Americans are now seen in a much different light than in the fifties. Since Jackie Robinson integrated baseball in 1947, black society in America has truly broken barriers. Although arguable, it is my contention that the 54 years after the first day Jackie Robinson stepped up to the plate was the best 54 years in African-American improvements of all time. More importantly than improvements in black America, are the improvements in all of America, in every facet of life. Jackie Robinson was not only great at playing baseball, but also great at playing life. Quoting the recent Nike advertising campaign, "Thank you Jackie Robinson."#

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