Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson comic book 1951
Robinson with Kansas City Monarchs
Robinson becomes a Dodger
Pittsburgh Courier (Washington ed.), April 19, 1947
Robinson with Brooklyn Dodgers
Jackie Robinson and wife Rachel
Jackie Robinson and family
Jackie Robinson stamp

1919 - January 31, Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia, the son of sharecropper Jerry Robinson, grandson of slave. When his father deserted the family, Jackie was six months old and his mother Mallie took the family to Pasadena, California, supporting her five children by washing and ironing clothes. His brother Mack would become a world-class sprinter, second to Jesse Owens in the 200-yard dash in the 1936 Olympics.

1923 - Mallie bought a house on Pepper Street in Pasadena, the only black family in the neighborhood. Jackie joined the Pepper Street Gang of poor white and minority boys who challenged wealthy white boys in athletic games for money.

1935 - At Muir Technical High School, he excelled in football, basketball, baseball, track

1937 - He entered Pasadena Junior College, won the league baseball championship, the Junior College Football Championship, and set junior college broad jump record of 25 feet, 6 1/2 inches.

1939 - On scholarship at the University of California at Los Angeles, he was the first student to earn four varsity letters in one year, was national champion long jumper, was the highest scorer in Pacific Coast Conference basketball, and was an All-American football running back until his eligibility expired. Before gaduating, he left college to join a National Youth Administration work camp as athletic director at in Atascadero, California.

1941 - In the fall, he joined the semi-professional integrated Honolulu Bears professional football team.

1942 - He was drafted into the Army, was stationed at Fort Riley in Kansas with Joe Louis. With the help of Truman Gibson, the black aide to Secretary of War Henry Stimson, he was accepted into Officer's Candidate School, and commissioned as a lieutenant.

1944 - In July at Fort Hood, Texas, he refused an order to ride in the rear of the bus and was court martialed. Public outcry led by the NAACP, and the black press including the Pittsburgh Courier and the Chicago Defender, resulted in an acquittal. He never served overseas, was stationed a different camps in the U. S. as athletic director, and was given an honorable discharge in November 1944. His unit at Fort Hood, the 761st "Black Panther" Tank Battalion, fought in Europe, and was featured in Frank Capra's film The Negro Soldier.

1945 - He was discharged from the Army due to weak ankles. He joined the Negro Leagues and played for the Kansas City Monarchs for $400 a month. He was discovered by Brooklyn Dodgers' president Branch Rickey who was looking for the ideal black player to break in MLB. On August 28, he interviewed Robinson for three hours and decided the talented palyer also had the character strength to endure racial attacks. Jackie asked, "Mr. Rickey, what do you want? Do you want a ballplayer who is afraid to fight back?" Rickey replied, "I want a ballplayer with guts enough not to fight back." On October 23, Rickey signed him to the Dodgers' farm team, the Montreal Royals, in the International League.

1946 - At spring training in segregated Florida, Robinson had to ride in the back of the bus, and endure racial threats from white fans and players. That winter, he married Rachel Isum, born 1922 in Los Angeles, and they would raise a family of three children.

1947 - On April 15, he put on uniform No. 42 for his major league debut, and played first base for the Dodgers against the Boston Braves. During that first season, he endured beanballs, spikes, trach thrown by spectators, sheriffs who enforced local segregation laws, and was named Rookie of the year, and helped the Dodgers win the National League pennant.

1948 - On July 26, President Truman issued Executive Order 9981 that desegregated the military services.

1949 - He was called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee, said he would fight for his country in a war with communists, and did no share the "siren song sung in bass" opposition of singer Paul Robeson.

1956 - In December, he was sold to the New York Giants where he would join Willie Mays, but he announced his retirement in Jan. 1957. Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley moved his team to Los Angeles Oct. 8, 1957, and persuded Giants owner Horace Stoneham to move his team from New York Polo Grounds to San Francisco rather than Milwaukee.

1957 - He became Director of Personnel for Chock Full O'Nuts, a restaurant chain founded in 1926 by William Black. He worked with the Harlem YMCA and became chairman of the board of the Freedom National Bank. He promoted black-owned businesses, and became the owner of a construction company that built housing for blacks. He worked with the NAACP's Freedom Fund Drive.

1960 - He supported Senator Hubert Humphrey in the primaries, but switched to the Republican Party and Richard Nixon for the presidential campaign.

1962 - In his first year of eligibility, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

1963 - He marched with Martin Luther King in Birmingham, Alabama

1966 - He was appointed Special Assistant for Community Affairs by New York Republican Governor Nelson Rockefeller.

1968 - He again supported Hubert Humphrey in the presidential campaign.

1971 - His oldest son, Jackie Jr., died in a car accident, after overcoming drug addiction acquired in Vietnam.

1972 - On October 24, he died at his home in in Stamford, Connecticut, from a long battle with heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure.

1973 - Rachel Robinson founded the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

1974 - Hank Aaron, born in Mobile, Alabama, in 1934, and at age 18 leader of the Indianapolis Clowns victory in the Negro League World Series, on April 8, 1974, broke the all-time home run record in Atlanta by hitting number 715 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

1975 - Frank Robinson, born in Beaumont, Texas, in 1935, the only MVP in both leagues, with the Reds in 1961 and the Orioles in 1966, became the first permanent black manager in the major leagues, of the Cleveland Indians.

1989 - David Robinson became one of the founders of Sweet Unity Farms, a cooperative of more than 300 small coffee farmers in Tanzania, selling Arabica coffee to buyers such as Levy Restaurants that would begin sales in 2005 to U.S. Cellular Field of the Chicago White Sox; Bank One Ballpark of the Arizona Diamondbacks; and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

1996 - HBO Pictures produced the feature film Soul Of The Game, with Blair Underwood as Robinson, Delroy Lindo as Satchel Paige, and Mykelti Williamson as Josh Gibson.

2005 - On March 2, Robinson was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, given by President George W. Bush to Robinson's widow, Rachel.

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revised 4/15/07 by Schoenherr at the University of San Diego