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Jackie Robinson

On January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia, Jackie Roosevelt Robinson was born. His mother Mali was a single mother for Robinson and his four siblings. His family moved to Pasadena, California when he was young. They moved from a neighborhood with mainly Black neighbors to a neighborhood with mainly white neighbors.

Jackie Robinson grew up when people were treated differently because of their race. This was after slavery ended but before the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. There were laws in place that divided or separated Black people from white people. While living in Georgia, Robinson didn’t notice this difference because he was only around people like himself. After moving to California, he realized people treated him differently because his skin was a different color than theirs.

He loved to play sports, especially baseball. Because of separation, he couldn’t play in the same league as the white kids. This didn’t keep him from playing though. He kept practicing and was really talented. He was fortunate to go to a high school where there was no segregation. He got to play on the same team as his classmates. He played baseball, football, basketball, and tennis, and ran track and field. He was very active!

Eventually, in 1947, Jackie Robinson was recruited to play baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the major leagues. More than 26,000 people watched him play first baseman. Before he could win over the crowd, he had to win over his own teammates. Many of them grew up believing racism was right, but after getting to know him, they all supported him and were glad to have him on their team.

Jackie Robinson was good at baseball. In 151 games, his batting average was .297, an on-base percentage of .373, and a .427 slugging percentage. He had 175 hits, which included 31 doubles, 5 triples, and 12 home runs. He also had 48 runs batted in and scored 125 runs for the year. In addition, he led the league with 28 sacrifice hits and 29 stolen bases. That year, he won Major League Rookie of the Year.

He continued to have a great career in major league baseball. After retiring he went into politics and spoke about the inequality in the major league. He was so influential, he had a stadium named after him and the Rookie of the Year award was renamed the Jackie Robinson Award. His jersey, number 42, was retired, marking it as so special, Jackie Robinson was the only one who could have that number.

This video helps students empathize with Jackie Robinson by asking them to imagine themselves in a situation similar to Robinson. The beginning part of this video is a great way to incorporate SEL (Social Emotional Learning) into your Black History Month lesson.

The video concludes by inspiring students to actively participate in things that interest them, even when it seems like they aren’t welcomed. Jackie Robinson was an impressive baseball player, but even more of an impressive human.

This video is a great way to introduce a writing prompt. Students could write about a time they felt they were not welcome but participated anyway. They could also write about meeting someone different than them, then finding out they had a lot more in common than they thought. You could also have students write how they can be kind to people who are different than them. You could also have them write a fiction story about someone who was treated poorly because of the way they looked but went on to accomplish great things. The possibilities are endless!

black history, dodgers, baseball, baseball history, racial segregation, racial discrimination, 42, brooklyn dodgers, black baseball players

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