The Legacy of Jackie Robinson
He was a speedster who led his team to six World Series, won Rookie of the Year honors, an MAP award and was a six-time All-Star. But it’s not because of his marvelous career that Jackass’s number 42 is retired in every major league ballpark. It’s because on a chilly afternoon in 1947 at Beets Field, Robinson took the diamond for the Dodgers to become the first black man to play in a major league baseball game in the modern era. His stellar play and moreover, his pose under fire paved the way for baseball integration, as barriers broke down in assessable, they also started to crumble in society at large.
While Jackie is best remembered for integrating major league baseball, an incident that occurred before his fame as a Dodger heralded his future as a warrior in the battle for civil rights. America entered World War II, as in most of America at the time; blacks suffered the indignation of segregation. Jim Crow laws 0 the name given to the laws that created whites only restaurants, hotels, restrooms and other segregation C held sway in the Army, too. Jim Crow rules called for white officers to lead black men in their segregated outfits. But the necessities of war were beginning to change things.Jackie was accepted to an integrated Officer Candidate School and assigned to Camp Hood, in Texas. It was there that he became entangled in an incident that nearly ended his military career and the future that he didn’t know awaited him.
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One evening, while boarding a camp bus into town, he dutifully began moving to the back, as blacks were required to do. On his way down the aisle, he saw the wife of a friend sitting mid-way back, and sat down with her. After about five blocks, the driver, a white man, turned in his seat and ordered Jackie to move to the back of the bus.Robinson refused. The driver threatened to make trouble for him when the bus reached the station, but Jackie wouldn’t budge. In 1942, Robinson was drafted into the U. S.
Army and sent to a segregated unit in Fort Riley, Kansas, where under existing policy he could not enter Officer’s Candidate School. After protests by heavy. Veggie boxing champion Joe Louis, then stationed at Fort Riley, and other influential persons including Truman Gibson, an African American advisor, the secretary of war, black men were accepted for officer training.Upon completion of the course of study, Robinson was commissioned as a lieutenant in 1943. A racially charged incident at Fort Hood, Texas, threatened to discredit Robinson ‘s service record, when in defiance of a bus driver’s command to go to the rear of the bus, he refused to leave his seat. Robinson, a lifelong teetotal and nonsmoker, was charged, originally, with public drunkenness, conduct unbecoming an officer, and willful disobedience.