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Jackie Robinson was an American baseball player who was the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball. He was a second baseman.
Read on to learn more about his life and accomplishments or alternatively download our comprehensive worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
- Jackie Robinson (born Jack Roosevelt Robinson) was born in Cairo, Georgia on January 31, 1919. He had 4 siblings, and was raised by his mother. His father left the family shortly after Jackie was born.
- Jackie was the youngest of his 4 siblings.
- His family moved to California after his father left. Although it was an affluent neighborhood, his family was quite poor, with his mother working odd jobs to support the family.
- As a result, Jackie and other poor minority children in the area were excluded from sports, playing, and other opportunities to interact with other children.
- Jackie grew up watching his older siblings excel at sports. He developed a love for sports from a young age, and was influenced greatly from watching them succeed.
- At John Muir high school, Jackie participated in track, football, baseball, tennis, and basketball. He dealt with a lot of racism at school, and even though he was cheered on the field, he was often overlooked in school.
- He played these sports at varsity level and received a lot of praise from his coaches for his athleticism.
- When he graduated high school, he began attending UCLA, starring in track, baseball, football, and basketball.
- He became the first athlete to win varsity letters in those four sports.
- Unfortunately, due to the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, he had to abandon his college tenure and was enlisted into the army in 1942.
- He had some trouble in June of 1944 when he was asked, and refused, to go to the back of a race-neutral bus. This ended with Jackie being transferred to a different Battalion.
- Jackie was court-martialled (which tries members of the U.S. military for criminal violations of the U.S MIlitary’s Criminal Code).
- As a result of his court-martialled (and later acquittal), Jackie was unable to fight overseas, so he never actually saw combat.
- After his acquittal he moved back to Kentucky and served as a coach for army athletics.
- In 1944, he was given an honorable discharge.
- He met a former baseball player in the Negro American League in that same year, who encouraged Jackie to write to his former team, the Kansas City Monarchs, and ask for a tryout.
- Jackie received an offer to play for $400 a month with the team in 1945, but he was annoyed at the team’s disorganization and unprofessionalism.
- He was approached by Branch Rickey, who was the manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Branch asked if Jackie would play for his farm team (an extension of the Brooklyn Dodgers), the Montreal Royals. In a famous exchange, Jackie asked Branch, “Are you looking for a Negro who is afraid to fight back?” Branch replied, “Robinson, I’m looking for a ballplayer with guts enough to not fight back”.
- Jackie signed a contract for $600 a month, with the promise that he would tolerate and ignore the inevitable racial abuse he would get.
- Just before the start of the 1947 season, Jackie was called up to the major leagues to start with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
- He broke the “color barrier” by opening for the Dodgers. The “color barrier” referred to the unspoken code of racial segregation that existed in sports, education, and everyday life.
- Although Jackie’s involvement with the team received a generally good response from the crowds, there still existed a lot of racial tension within the team.
- It got so bad, that the manager of the team at the time, Leo Durocher, told the team that he’d rather trade all of them than get rid of Jackie.
- That same year, Jackie was awarded “Rookie of the Year” for his tremendous contribution to the team. He also showed courage to not fight back when faced with racism. He kept his promise to Branch and focused on his performance.
- As he continued his career, he earned many awards for his athleticism and performance, and each time he won something, he included comments about equality for African-Americans in sports and other facets of life.
- People began to show more tolerance for African-Americans in sports and life in general.
- He retired in 1957, and in 1962 he was the first African-American inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
- Jackie was married to Rachel Isum, and together they had 3 children. He died on October 24, 1972 from a heart attack.
Jackie Robinson Worksheets
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use Jackie Robinson Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about Jackie Robinson who was an American baseball player who was the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball.
Download includes the following worksheets:
- Jackie Robinson Facts.
- Jackie Robinson Wordsearch.
- Mini Biography.
- Unscrambling Activity.
- Jackie Robinson Quiz.
- Social Media Profile.
- Acrostic Poem.
- Questions for Rachel Robinson.
- Jackie Robinson Crossword.
- Opinion Piece.
- Design a Trading Card.
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Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.