Since separating blacks and whites from using the
Since 1865, when African American slaves were first freed, segregation was present, Black Codes, for example, were a way in which the south limited the rights of the newly freed slaves. Segregation was a way of separating blacks and whites from using the same facilities, services, housing, medical care, education, jobs, and transportation. Jackie Robinson even before his baseball career was an advocate for equal rights amongst blacks and whites, and he saw no reason why one race should have more rights than another. Even though many were against an African American man, who was Jackie Robinson in this case, being integrated into the Major League Baseball program. With help from Branch Rickey, he obtained a position in the MLB and officially broke the color barrier integrating African Americans into the MLB program. After Robinson retired from baseball he went on to further help the civil rights movement to gain equal rights for blacks.One of the first signs of integration was in 1896, when the Plessy v. Ferguson case had been occurring, which had to do with segregation of public facilities, the result of this case deemed that blacks and whites could still have segregated facilities, but they must be equal in maintenance. Robinson’s earlier life consisted of him playing one season in the Negro Leagues, living in an integrated town in Los Angeles, attending UCLA, and serving in World War II as a lieutenant for the segregated army, later being discharged for not listening to a bus driver and refusing to go to the back of the bus (Rubinstein). Before Robinson broke the color barrier in the baseball world he made efforts to reduce the issue involving racial discrimination amongst blacks and whites that were present (Hillstrom, “Robinson and the Civil”). One of his huge accomplishment that went unnoticed by many was how he tackled the racism present in the military (Hillstrom, “A Major League”). These issues developed as a result of the Emancipation Proclamation by Lincoln, which made the slaves free, but never made the white man morally free (Hillstrom, “Branch Rickey Explains”). Branch Rickey, who was the manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, was a prime supporter in integrating blacks into baseball because he invited the first black to play for the MLB which was Robinson. Robinson’s big-time break in integrating blacks and whites in baseball was on April 15, 1947, when he first set foot on to Ebbets Field in Brooklyn in anticipation for his first game, representing the Brooklyn Dodgers (History.com Staff). He had been shunned by many who believed blacks should not be allowed to play in the MLB, and even by his own teammates, but he pursued his life and wasn’t bothered by the disrespect he received. Upon Robinson’s retirement, he continued on to be a civil rights activist for equal rights for blacks and whites and brought others to help and support the movement as well.Jackie Robinson was denied the right to play baseball for the MLB and was forced to join the Negro leagues (History.com Staff). When he was given this right and the opportunity to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers many implications arose, for the reason that the vast majority of the Major League team owners wouldn’t voluntarily be open to including a black player into the MLB (“Jackie Robinson’s Historic”). Branch Rickey, on the other hand, had different beliefs from the other team owners and explained the hardships Robinson, and his teammates experienced by having Robinson on the team. Rickey states that “despite his talent and success as a player, Robinson faced tremendous racial discrimination throughout his career, from baseball fans and some fellow players. Additionally, Jim Crow laws prevented Robinson from using the same hotels and restaurant as his teammates while playing in the south” (History.com Staff). Robinson along with his team was sometimes denied the right to play at certain stadiums due to the color of Robinson’s skin, and stadium rules having non-integrated sports. Even some of his teammates before he joined the team expressed their thoughts on having Robinson play with them, and these were oftentimes negative (Effrat). Branch Rickey was aware of the many issues revolved around hiring a black man to play baseball. These included, “ownership, number two was the man on the field, number three the man off the field. And number four was his public relations, transportation, housing, accommodations, embarrassments-feasibility” (Hillstrom, “Branch Rickey Explains”). The main issue that Branch Rickey brought attention to was the problem with hiring a black player and team owners having an ownership of them, due to slavery being a past problem in the United States. Where white men often owned African Americans, Rickey saw hiring a black player as a possible problem that may erupt controversy with the black population, being that some could view it as the white team owners owning the black players and having a recurrence of the past (Hillstrom, “Branch Rickey Explains”). In the long run, Dwight D. Eisenhower sent troops into Little Rock to prevent nine black students from attending school. In a speech, Eisenhower responded to black activists by urging them to be patient, which triggered Robinson, who was an activist in the civil rights movement and retired from baseball at the time, to write back in backlash (Hillstrom, “Robinson Pushes Eisenhower”).Branch Rickey saw Jackie Robinson as a unique individual who had moral values and wanted more than to just integrate baseball he wanted to integrate all blacks and whites. Rickey also picked up on Robinson’s determination and work ethic to pursue his goal of integration and end segregation once and for all. Before Robinson was invited to join the Brooklyn Dodgers he already proved himself as a very successful baseball player in the AAA minor league by having outstanding plays (Effrat). Rickey was conscious that World War II made many poor and lower class blacks move towards New York and saw this as a chance to develop a winning team by inviting more blacks to play, being that he saw blacks played better than whites (Rubenstein). Rickey “recruited Robinson, who was known for his integrity and intelligence as well as his talent, to join one of the club’s farm teams. In 1947, Robinson was called up to the Majors and soon became a star infielder and outfielder for the Dodgers” (History.com Staff). Robinson started off by being in a smaller team and as his talent became noticed he was sooner brought up to be in the majors. Rickey also recognized that Robinson had “strength of character, not just talent, that would enable him to over-come the taunts that were to come” (Effrat). Robinson from his experience in the war, and as he was growing up had experience with whites and knew not to let himself be affected by their negative views (Rubinstein). On March 19, 1957, Robinson reached out to Richard M. Nixon, who was the vice president of the United States, and commended him for reaching out to the people in Africa. Robinson in his letter writes to Nixon saying, “it was most reassuring to have you speak out in the heart of Africa so the peoples of that Continent and of the world should know that ‘We shall never be satisfied with the progress we have been making in recent years until the problem is solved and equal opportunity becomes a reality for all Americans'” (Letter to Richard M. Nixon). Robinson applauds Nixon’s efforts but solidifies his intentions by stating that he and others will never give up on integration until the segregation that is present is fully abolished.Robinson made many immediate impacts during his time playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers whether it was on or off the field. A major league executive explains the impact Robinson had on him when he was just a young boy watching baseball. As the executive grew up he recalled on a time when he watched Robinson dance off first base and realized that he did this to intimidate the pitcher and challenge America to have a higher standard and recognize the importance of integration. The message Robinson exhibited through this small dance he did was much more than just on the field and baseball itself (Hillstrom, “A Major League Baseball Executive”). When Robinson would play baseball he showed that blacks could be even more valuable players and in some cases better than white players. He showed the importance that blacks should have equal opportunities as whites in order to succeed not just in baseball but overall (Adelson). As Robinson’s main goal was to integrate blacks and whites, “every time he took the field alongside his white teammates, he helped demonstrate the possibilities of interracial cooperation. He and shortstop Pee Wee made one of the most potent double-play combinations in baseball. They communicated without words and timed their movements to split-second perfection. Their execution on the field and camaraderie in the dugout helped change the attitudes of innumerable people about black-white relations” (Adelson). Robinson when on the field constantly made a conscious effort to publicize the integration of blacks and whites in baseball, and show the positives it brought. Pee Wee, who was a shortstop for the Dodgers, helped Robinson in the civil rights movement by having relations with him on and off the field, while others wouldn’t dare even talk to Robinson. Jonathan Mayo, who was a sportswriter noted that “Seeing black and white players together on the field, and black and white fans sitting together, had a significant and decisive role in the larger integration of society. As Hank Aaron told me, ‘A black man crossing home plate and shaking hands with a white teammate in the segregated South in the 1950s had enormous power'”(Adelson). After Robinson’s integration into the Major Leagues other MLB teams began to think that black players weren’t such a bad idea after seeing Robinson’s skill level. Branch Rickey continued to hire black players on to the Dodgers and went on to get 6 National League titles, 5 awards for most valuable players, and 4 Rookie of the year awards which were won by all black players. Upon Jackie Robinson’s retirement he continued to speak with other activists for the same cause he supported, which was equal rights for both blacks and whites, raise money for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and spoke with people who had authority in the government and other public figures (Hillstrom, “Robinson Pushes Eisenhower”). Robinson spoke with every president who held office between 1956 and 1972 urging them to help with the segregation problem, and in a few cases, they took his advice. He had written to Kennedy, but Robinson didn’t see him as much of a help in the civil rights movement. When he spoke to Nixon he “viewed Nixon’s civil rights record as more promising than Kennedy’s especially after meeting both candidates” (Nixon, Draft Letter). Throughout his lifetime Robinson was an inspiration to many to chase their dreams, especially young blacks to teach them early on to demand equal opportunities as well (Hillstrom, “A Major League Baseball Executive”). Robinson saw the main issue in society which was that no one really was aware of the unequal rights that were present and he made everyone know rapidly about this problem. Many believe he deserves so much more credit for bringing attention to such a huge issue, but he didn’t do what he did for credit, he did it in order to help his people (Adelson). Brown v. Board of Education was tremendous landmark decision for the civil rights movements and basically canceled out the decision in 1896, which was the Plessy v. Ferguson case that made it so blacks and whites were “separate but equal”, due to it violating the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (Adelson). He went on to open the Freedom National Bank in New York City which was black-owned, encouraged blacks to open small businesses, and made the lives of blacks better than before (Adelson). Jackie Robinson brought attention to the segregation and reduced the issue as much as possible. Jackie Robinson socially and politically impacted the black citizens of the United States even before he set foot for his first game in the MLB. Historian Ken Burns explains that”when Jackie Robinson played that first game in Ebbets Field, Martin Luther King was still in college. There hadn’t been a woman refusing to move to the back of the bus. There hadn’t been lunch counter demonstrations. The term sit-in hadn’t been coined. There were none of the signposts of what we think of as the civil rights movement, which makes Jackie’s example one of the first real signs of progress in civil rights since the Civil War” (Adelson). Jackie was basically the start of all civil rights movements in the United States, and he left a legacy that others followed in order to keep pushing for Robinson’s life goal to obtain equal rights between blacks and whites.