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Connecticut Explored is turning 20. We’re celebrating game changers. A game changer is a person, event, or idea that changes how we do things or think about something in a BIG way.
(C) Connecticut Explored Inc., Fall 2022
Jackie Robinson was a game changer. He was the first Black man to play Major League Baseball. He was one of the sport’s all-time greats. Robinson worked for change off the field, too. He fought for civil rights.
Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born in Georgia in 1919. He grew up in California. He became a star athlete in high school and college. He was an officer in the U.S. Army during World War II. After the war, he joined the Kansas City Monarchs baseball team. The Monarchs played in a “Negro” league. Black players weren’t allowed in the Major Leagues.
But times were changing. Robinson was invited to join the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. He became the first Black player in the Major Leagues. It was hard. He faced racist treatment many times. But he was still successful. He was named Rookie of the Year. He became an All Star, a World Series champ, and the league’s Most Valuable Player. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.
In 1955 Robinson and his family moved to Stamford, Connecticut. He retired from baseball in 1957 and became a successful businessman. He also fought for civil rights. He spoke out in public and wrote letters to important leaders. He took his three children to the 1963 March on Washington. He believed that no American was really free “until every one of us is free.”
Jackie Robinson died in 1972. He had overcome many challenges. He worked hard on the field and off. He tried to help make the country more equal. He changed more than just the game of baseball.
Read more about Jackie Robinson at WhereILiveCT.org. Flip to chapter 5. Read more stories about Connecticut Game Changers at whereilivect.org/notable/.
Jackie Robinson Park of Fame
West Main Street at Richmond Hill Avenue, Stamford
The park is a site on the Connecticut Freedom Trail. Visit ctfreedomtrail.org
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