You think you can play for Montreal? For the next three hours, Rickey interrogated the star shortstop. In every scenario, Rickey cursed Robinson and threatened him, verbally degrading him in every way imaginable. I need a man that will take abuse and insults for his race. Robinson struggled to keep his temper. He was insulted by the implication that he was a coward.
No owners, no umpires, virtually no newspapermen. As he listened, Robinson became transfixed by the Dodger president. He felt his sincerity, his deep, quiet strength, and his sense of moral justice.
You will symbolize a crucial cause. One incident, just one incident, can set it back twenty years. I think I can play ball in Brooklyn…. If you want to take this gamble, I will promise you there will be no incident.
The agreement was sealed by a handshake. Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey had launched a noble experiment to integrate major league baseball. Two years later, in , when Robinson actually broke the color barrier, winning Rookie of the Year honors with the Dodgers, he raised the hopes and expectations of millions of black Americans who believed that deeply rooted patterns of discrimination could be changed.
In , segregation was the most distinguishing characteristic of American race relations. For blacks, these so-called Jim Crow laws meant inferior public schools, health care, and public lodging, as well as discriminatory voter registration procedures that kept many of them disenfranchised. For the nearly 1 million African Americans who had served in the armed forces during World War II, the contradiction inherent in their fight against totalitarianism abroad while enduring segregation at home was insufferable.
No longer willing to knuckle under to Jim Crow, this young generation of black Americans was determined to secure full political and social equality. Many migrated to Northern cities, where they found better jobs, better schooling, and freedom from landlord control.
And Jackie Robinson became their hero. Blacks had been expelled from the major leagues when segregation was established by the Supreme Court ruling in Plessy v. Racist attitudes were reinforced by the significant numbers of white Southerners who played in the majors, as well as by the extensive minor league system that existed in the South. When blacks established their own Negro Leagues, white journalists, as well as historians, ignored them. Despite the periodic efforts of some white club owners to circumvent the racist policies and sign exceptional Negro Leaguers, the majors continued to bar blacks through the end of World War II.
Publicly, Rickey never revealed his intentions of breaking the color barrier. What Rickey really wanted to find was a talented, college-educated ballplayer who would be able to contradict the popular myth of black ignorance. Born on January 31, , in Cairo, Georgia, Jackie was the grandson of a slave and the fifth child of a sharecropper who deserted his family. Raised by his mother in a white, middle-class neighborhood in Pasadena, California, Jackie and his brothers and sister were verbally ridiculed and frequently pelted with rocks by local children.
Rather than endure the humiliation, the boys formed a gang and began to return fire. What saved young Jackie from more serious trouble and even crime was his exceptional athletic ability. His versatility earned him an athletic scholarship, first to Pasadena Junior College and later to the University of California at Los Angeles, where he earned varsity letters in four different sports and All-American honors in football.
His application was eventually approved, however, thanks to the help of boxing champion Joe Louis, who was stationed with Jackie at Fort Riley, Kansas. Commissioned a second lieutenant, Robinson continued during the next few years to defy discriminatory practices within the military. When, in July , he refused to move to the rear of a military bus at Fort Hood, Texas, Robinson was charged with insubordination and court-martialed. But the case against him was weak—the Army had recently issued orders against such segregation—and a good lawyer won his acquittal.
While with the Monarchs, Robinson established himself as a fine defensive shortstop with impressive base stealing and hitting abilities. But he hated barnstorming through the South, with its Jim Crow restaurants and hotels, and frequently allowed his temper to get the better of him. Some teammates thought Jackie too impatient with the segregationist treatment of blacks. Others admired him for his determination to take a stand against racism.
Yet Robinson never saw himself as a crusader for civil rights as much as an athlete who had grown disillusioned with his chosen career. The black press, some liberal sportswriters and even a few politicians were banging away at those Jim Crow barriers in baseball, but I never expected the walls to come tumbling down in my lifetime.
I began to wonder why I should dedicate my life to a career where the boundaries of progress were set by racial discrimination. There were indications, however, that the tide was turning in favor of integration. Nevertheless, the tryout brought Robinson to the attention of Clyde Sukeforth, the chief scout of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Robinson had no illusions about the purpose of his meeting with the Dodgers. But he was convinced that he was morally right and he shrewdly sensed that making the game a truly national one would have healthy financial results. The Monarchs were especially angered by the signing and went so far as to threaten a lawsuit against the Dodgers for tampering with a player who was already under contract. The Dodger president refused, speaking only of the excitement and competitive advantage that black players would bring to Brooklyn baseball, while downplaying the moral significance he attached to integration.
Rickey named Mississippian Clay Hopper, who had worked for him since , to manage the Royals. There were reports, probably true, that Hopper begged Rickey to reconsider giving him this assignment. Finding himself unable to eat or sleep, he went to a doctor, who concluded he was suffering from stress. Despite the tension and distractions, Robinson managed to hit for an impressive. After the final game in that championship series, grateful Royals fans hoisted Robinson onto their shoulders and carried him to the locker room.
One of the biggest problem areas was with transportation on the buses serving the post. On July 6, Jackie Robinson and the practice of stringent segregation on the buses serving the post collided head-on.
Jackie was returning to camp from a medical appointment in town. Ironically, he had been trying to get a medical waiver for an ankle injury so he could accompany his unit when they shipped out for combat overseas.
When he got on the bus he saw Virginia Jones, the light-skinned wife of a fellow officer, seated about halfway back. He sat down beside her. After a few blocks, the bus driver, Milton Reneger, turned and demanded that the Lieutenant move to a seat further toward the back of the bus. In his autobiography, Jackie records what was going on in his mind at the time. I was aware of the fact that recently Joe Louis and Ray Robinson had refused to move to the backs of buses in the South.
The resulting publicity had caused the Army to put out regulations barring racial discrimination on any vehicle operating on an Army post. Knowing about these regulations, I had no intention of being intimidated into moving to the back of the bus. As Jackie recalls, when the bus reached the last stop on the post, the driver jumped out and quickly returned with his dispatcher and some other drivers. The emotional temperature of the encounter began to rise as the dispatcher, a man by the name of Beverly Younger, referred to Jackie to his face using a highly offensive racial epithet.
A small crowd of whites, both civilians and military personnel, and all quite hostile to Jackie, quickly formed. The N-word was freely used. Soon, two military policeman arrived. They asked, politely, if Lieutenant Robinson would accompany them to the military police headquarters.
He agreed, and along with most of the crowd, it seemed, set out for the station. Once arrived at the building, even greater confusion ensued. The confusion continued as the Assistant Provost Marshal, Captain Gerald Bear, attempted to question supposed witnesses. Jackie, feeling himself surrounded by hostile forces, vehemently contradicted their accounts.
These charges were considered serious enough to warrant a general court-martial. Jackie, now confined to quarters, continued his fight. In his letter to Gibson, Jackie admitted that he had used strong language during the encounter at the police station. But, he said, it was only after being heavily provoked by the continued use of racially incendiary language toward him.
He continued, "I don't want any unfavorable publicity for myself or the Army, but I believe in fair play. Although he had initially expected that the NAACP to supply him with a lawyer, Jackie eventually accepted the services of the defense attorney appointed by the Army.
He was Captain William A. Cline, a white officer from Texas. Interviewed in at the age of , Capt. Cline still had vivid memories of Jackie and his case. Cline told Jackie that was good because he came from just about as far South as you could get! But, when Jackie did eventually ask Capt. Cline to represent him, the Army lawyer got right on the case and did a very effective job.
The decision to court-martial Jackie ran into an immediate snag. Paul Bates, the commanding officer of the st, refused to sign court-martial papers. According to the recollections of Capt. Bates felt there was no basis to the charges. He considered Robinson to be an exemplary officer, and during the trial would be his greatest supporter. Bates refused to sanction the court-martial, Jackie was transferred from the st to the th Tank Battalion. The court- martial papers were then signed.
Although the transfer had already been in the works before the bus incident took place, Col. To read the "Yank" Jackie Robinson interview, you can download the pdf. By the time the court-martial began on August 2, , the charges against Jackie were significantly different than what might have been expected. Cline, was not only able to bring in references to the events that caused the initial confrontation, but also to demonstrate inconsistencies in the stories told by prosecution witnesses.
In the absence of definite and direct orders, the charge of disobedience to orders became moot. He forcefully stated his assessment that Lt. Robinson was an officer of excellent character, demeanor, job performance, and reputation in his command. In his own testimony, Jackie explained what had motivated him as he responded to the epithets hurled at him during the incident. My grandmother was a slave.
I am a Negro, but not a N-. They unanimously acquitted Jackie Robinson of all charges. In doing so, he would be subjected to the most vile racial invective imaginable.
This time, fighting racism would require that he refuse to be provoked by the slurs. It is, to my mind, a measure of the courage and commitment of this man, who was willing to risk his military career and even prison rather than give in to the evil of racism, that for three years he took all the abuse heaped on him in every Major League ballpark he played in.
By doing so, perhaps at the cost, as many believe, of shortening his own life, Jackie Robinson forever changed not just a sport, but a nation. Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. I never thought about the fact that the prohibition of mixing the races on a bus worked both ways.
It just reinforces how irrational the segregationist mindset was in every way. I knew about the court martial, but not the bus incident. Amazing history lesson here. Thank you for writing it. Jackie Robinson was an amazing man. Lots of people don't realize it, but whites were discouraged from riding in the back of the bus. When I was younger I wanted to ride in the back because all the kids seemed to be having fun.
It would help them believe in themselves. I cannot possibly believe that I have it made while so many black brothers and sisters are hungry, inadequately housed, insufficiently clothed, denied their dignity as they live in slums or barely exist on welfare. How much more effective our demands for a piece of the action would be if we were negotiating from the strength or our own self-reliance rather than stating our case in the role of beggar or someone crying out for charity.
It kills me to lose. But as I write these words now I cannot stand and sing the National Anthem. I have learned that I remain a black in a white world. Civil rights is not by any means the only issue that concerns me — nor, I think, any other Negro. As Americans, we have as much at stake in this country as anyone else. But since effective participation in a democracy is based upon enjoyment of basic freedoms that everyone else takes for granted, we need make no apologies for being especially interested in catching up on civil rights.
Today, Negroes play on every big league club and in every minor league. With millions of other Negroes in other walks of life, we are willing to stand up and be counted for what we believe in. In baseball or out, we are no longer willing to wait until Judgment Day for equality — we want it here on earth as well as in Heaven.
Some of my own teammates refused to accept me because I was black. I had been forced to live with snubs and rebuffs and rejections. We have a social responsibility and we are held to a higher standard than other institutions.
Famous Jackie Robinson Quotes On Civil Rights & Determination Published March 14, As the first Major League Baseball player to break the color barrier in the s, Brooklyn Dodger Jackie Robinson had to daily battle racism and gained the respect of generations while trailblazing for .
Like Jackie Robinson, these men used their talent and determination to overcome decades of racial discrimination in the sport that has stood as “America’s pastime.” The LA84 Foundation honors the five men who first crossed the color barrier of major league baseball.
On April 15, , Jackie Robinson becomes the first African-American in the major leagues when he plays his first game with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born into a family of sharecroppers on January 31, , in Cairo, Georgia. Comment: A+ Customer service! Satisfaction Guaranteed! Book is in Used-Good condition. Pages and cover are clean and intact. Used items may not include supplementary materials such as .
Jackie Robinson summary: Jackie Robinson is remembered as the man who broke the color barrier in major league baseball and was the first African American inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame (). His outstanding career with the Brooklyn Dodgers and his dignity in facing the insults and threats that were hurled at him broke down the racial barriers in "America’s Pastime" and opened the way for . Tuesday is the 67th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. A new movie titled "42" focuses on the Hall of Famer. Below are 7 quotes from Jackie Robinson made over the years.