APRIL 15, 1947
Jackie Robinson broke through the color barrier in Major League Baseball, becoming the first Black player in the 20th century.
Born in Cairo, Georgia, Robinson lettered in four sports at UCLA – football, basketball, baseball and track. After time in the military, he played for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues. After his success there, Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey signed Robinson, and the legendary baseball player started for Montreal, where he integrated the International League.
In addition to his Hall of Fame career, he was active in the civil rights movement and became the first Black TV analyst in Major League Baseball and the first Black vice president of a major American corporation. In recognition of his achievements, Robinson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. Major League Baseball has retired his number “42,” which became the title of the movie about his breakthrough.
Ken Burns’ four-hour documentary reveals that Robinson did more than just break the color barrier — he became a leader for equal rights for all Americans.