“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” The words of baseball great and civil rights pioneer Jackie Robinson, who was born to a family of sharecroppers in Cairo, Georgia, in 1919.
Robinson became the first athlete ever at UCLA to earn letters in four different sports. During World War II the army court-martialed him for refusing to move to the back of a bus.
Robinson made history when he broke professional baseball’s color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. During his remarkable career he was the first African-American to be named Rookie of the Year, the first to win baseball’s Most Valuable Player award, and the first to be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. He accomplished it all while facing violent racial discrimination from fans, opposing players, and even some of his own teammates.
In 1997 Major League Baseball retired his number 42 on all teams. No player will ever wear it again.
The NAACP presented Jackie Robinson with its prestigious Spingarn Medal for his outstanding contributions on and off the field on December 27, 1956, Today in Georgia History.