Thesis Statement

Jackie Robinson's entrance into Major League Baseball and the subsequent wide spread integration of the entire league, were incredibly integral to the African-American struggle for civil rights.

                                    Background Information

Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born on January 31st 1919.  He was born to a family of sharecroppers in Cairo, Georgia.  He was the youngest of five children.  His father left his family the year after Jackie's birth.  Soon after the Robinson family moved to Pasadena, California.  At a young age Jackie joined a local gang, but soon after Jackie gave it up to pursue his natural ability in sports.  He was an exceptional athlete in high school, lettering in football, basketball, track, and baseball.  After breaking athletic records at Pasadena Junior College, Jackie attended UCLA where he continued playing all four sports.  After college, Jackie was pursuing a career as a professional football player, but by that time the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor had taken place which drew the United States into World War II.  Jackie got drafted, but after a dispute with a bus driver where he refused to move to the back of the bus Jackie got an honorable discharge.  Soon after Jackie joined the Kansas City Monarchs, a team in the Negro Leagues of baseball.  After a very successful seasons in the Negro Leagues, Jackie was contacted by Branch Rickey, the General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, for a tryout.