"Jackie Robinson and the American Dilemma" is a book about the life of Jack Roosevelt Robinson, a pioneer of racial freedom in America during the early 19th Century. A star was born in 1919 and Jackie Robinson was his name, though little did Jackie know at the time that he would go on to become one of the most famous pioneers of American baseball. Jackie Robinson's life became a symbol of racial justice in a time that America's values were beginning to be questioned. America had fought for liberty, yet African Americans were still being segregated and discriminated against.
A legend is born
Jack "Jackie" Roosevelt Robinson was the youngest of five children born to Mallie and Jerry Robinson in Cairo Georgia on January 31 in the year 1919. When Jackie was only 6 months old, his father abandoned Mallie and the family, and Mallie was left to raise Jackie and his siblings on her own. Jackie's mother had grown up with the knowledge that her own mother and father had been slaves and she knew that life could be unfair at times.
Moving to California
It was Mallie's insight into the difficulties faced by African Americans in the deep south during the early years of Jackie's life that encouraged Mallie to move to California. Settling into California for the Robinson family was not easy, as there were few African Americans in the state and they still experienced a level of discrimination. Jackie and his siblings found that sports was one area that they could excel at without being discriminated against, and that is when Jackie discovered he had a talent for baseball.
Trouble in High School
Jackie's older brother, Mack, excelled at the 200 meter dash and went on to win a silver medal in the 1936 Olympic games. Yet, Jackie found himself challenged by the struggles of growing up without a father and, although his brother was a good role model, Jackie fell into the company of gangs and trouble in high school. Fortunately for Jackie, a local car mechanic, Carl Anderson, and a local reverend, Karl Downs, recognized his talents and encouraged him to move in the right direction.
Overcoming racial discrimination
Jackie went on to excel in four sports in college: basketball, baseball, football and track. One of Jackie's defining moments was when he led his baseball team to win the junior college championship and subsequently was offered a scholarship to the University of California in Los Angeles. However, during World War II he was brought into the world of the America Army, were units were separated by race and he was once again forced to ride at the back of the bus. Jackie became an inspiration for African Americans, went on to forge a successful career in major league baseball and highlighted injustice that helped change the future for other African Americans.
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images