Jackie Robinson And His Impact On The World

In 1947, Jackie Robinson changed America and the world for the better. Robinson broke the colour barrier in sports and this not only changed baseball, but changed the culture and society of America itself. Jackie was signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. During his career he received many accolades such as Rookie of the Year that year, National League MVP in 1949 and a World Series champion in 1955.​ Robinson was able to change the way a lot of African-Americans were thought of through his actions on and off the field. At the time that Robinson entered the league in 1947, African-Americans who lived in the south were subject to Jim Crow laws. Jim Crow laws were apart of state constitutions and mandated the segregation of public schools, public places, public transportation, restrooms and restaurants. Jackie entering the league and breaking the colour barrier was one of the first examples of an African-American being integrated into white society. All the way up to this time the MLB was a league with only white players and there were unwritten rules that the owners would not hire African-Americans. Prior to World War II, most African-Americans were low-wage farmers, factory workers, domestics or servants. By the early 1940s, war-related work was booming, but most African-Americans weren’t given the better paying jobs. Jackie playing in the MLB was an African American man being part of mainstream white society; Jackie was an example to all other African- Americans of how they could be apart of mainstream society and not be treated as second class citizens. ​Jackie Robinson didn’t just affect life around the game of baseball, but in reality, he changed the world. Jackie also had significance through his involvement in the civil rights movement.​

Jackie was a huge advocate for equal rights and participated among marches and protests. ​African American sportswriters, many of whom had advocated baseball integration for years, focused their attentions on Robinson and the black players who followed him.​​ Jackie’s overwhelming success in the sport encouraged the integration of all professional sports which came soon after. Jackie’s success and demeanor also encouraged more white people to start giving African- Americans more respect. When Robinson signed with the Dodgers, he agreed with team owner Branch Rickey to not respond to all the hatred he would receive.​ The main tactic that Jackie used in keeping his cool and setting an example for other African- Americans was to ignore all the hate. Jackie braved verbal harassment, opposing teams’ overly aggressive play, and even death threats to him and his family. What Rickey needed most was someone who would refuse to show anger and avoid violence at all costs; someone who would deprive bigots of the symbolic enemy they craved. Rickey famously told Robinson, “I’m looking for a ballplayer with guts enough not to fight back.” Robinson ended up being the perfect guy for the job. During his first two years with the Dodgers, Robinson kept his word to Rickey and endured horrible abuse from fans, coaches players on his team or opposing and from everyone associated with Baseball. If Robinson had responded to all the terrible things that were said to him he wouldn’t have just made himself look bad but he would’ve made the whole African-American community look bad. His courage in the face of jeers and insults hate mail, and death threat to throwing black cats on the field commanded the admiration of whites as well as blacks and really was the same way that the people of the civil rights movement went about their business - without violence. 

Jackie’s work for the community is still relevant in the world today as now African-Americans are completely equal in the eyes of the law and the Jim Crow laws do not exist anymore. It is relevant to the issues still with our world today, as ​African-Americans still receive discrimination from law enforcement, certain citizens and people around the world. Jackie’s tactic of not fighting the racism and rather ignoring it is useful for all people dealing with racism around the world as it is the safest and most peaceful way. Jackie understood that he couldn’t eliminate racism but he knew that being integrated into America’s pastime(baseball) was essential for him and all other African-Americans.​

16 December 2021
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