Jackie Robinson , byname of Jack Roosevelt Robinson (born January 31, 1919, Cairo, Georgia, U.S.—died October 24, 1972, Stamford, Connecticut), the first black baseball player to play in the American major leagues during the 20th century. On April 15, 1947, Robinson broke the decades-old colour bar of Major League Baseball when he appeared on the field for the National League Brooklyn Dodgers. He played as an infielder and outfielder for the Dodgers from 1947 through 1956.
Reared in Pasadena, California, Robinson became an outstanding all-around athlete at Pasadena Junior College and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He excelled in football, basketball, and track as well as baseball. Robinson withdrew from UCLA in his third year to help his mother care for the family. In 1942 he entered the U.S. Army and attended officer candidate school; he was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1943. Robinson faced court-martial in 1944 for refusing to follow an order that he sit at the back of a military bus. The charges against Robinson were dismissed, and he received an honourable discharge from the military. The incident, however, presaged Robinson’s future activism and commitment to civil rights. Upon leaving the army, he played professional football in Hawaii and baseball with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League, where he drew the attention of the president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey.
Rickey had been planning an attempt to integrate baseball and was looking for the right candidate. Robinson’s skills on the field, his integrity, and his conservative family-oriented lifestyle all appealed greatly to Rickey. Rickey’s main fear concerning Robinson was that he would be unable to withstand the racist abuse without responding in a way that would hurt integration’s chances for success. During a legendary meeting Rickey shouted insults at Robinson, trying to be certain that Robinson could accept taunts without incident. On October 23, 1945, Rickey signed