On April 10th, 1947, famed baseball player Jackie Robinson became the first black to play in the Major Leagues. He was 28 years old, and was signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Robinson was a native of Georgia. He was born in Cairo, Georgia on January 31st 1919. He was the youngest of five children and raised in a single parent home by his mother. In both high school and junior college, he was a star athlete. He participated in many sports such as football, basketball, track and baseball. He was considered the MVP of the Cairo, GA area in 1938. The all star athlete went on to play sports for the semi pro football team; The Honolulu Bears. However, this did not last long as the U.S. went on to engage in the second Civil War.
Robinson went on to serve as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army from 1942-1944. However, he never fought in a war. His military career was cut short, as the South was still segregated and at one point he was arrested and jailed. He was arrested and jailed due to the fact that he would not give up his bus seat for a Caucasian male. He was later acquitted on all charges and received honorable discharge from the U.S. army.
Once he was discharged, Robinson went back to playing sports professionally. This time, he went with the sport of baseball. He initially played only for Negro baseball leagues as segregation between blacks and whites was still active. Branch Rickey from the Brooklyn Dodgers however had his eye on Robinson, and wanted to use him to help integrate the leagues. Robinson went on to play for an all-white farm team called the Montreal Royals. The Montreal Royals was a subsidiary of the Brooklyn Dodgers. On April 15th, he played his first professional game on the Brooklyn Dodgers Team.
Despite his stardom, he as well as his family endured many threats due to him playing with white people. Even most of his white team mates objected to having him on the team. Despite objections and threats, Robinson became a major sports icon and idol for blacks. He was sometimes deemed the voice of African American Sports.
Robinson passed away in October of 1972 due to health complications.