Subversive Historian – 04/15/09

Jackie Robinson’s Debut

Back in the day on April 15th, 1947, Jackie Robinson made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Suiting up in Dodger Blue, “Number 42” took to the field of “America’s Pastime,” years before the nation’s military or schools were desegregated. After scoring the winning run in his first game, the major league’s first African-American player was the target of intense racism as some of his own fellow Dodger teammates didn’t even want to play alongside him. The St. Louis Cardinals threatened to strike rather than participate in a game with a black ballplayer and members of the Philadelphia Phillies yelled for Robinson, the son of a sharecropper, to go back to the cotton fields. Not to be outdone, fans threw black cats onto the baseball field in a racist insult.

Even though the Hall of Famer was criticized by Malcolm X and other for testifying before the House on Un-American Activities, Robinson, in desegregating baseball, certainly endured America’s other pastime; racism.

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