When youre in the military, youre presented a salute upon which respect and dignity imply. Unfortunately, this wasnt always the case. All of that was hastily forgotten. He barely missed a court-martial and was honorably discharged shortly thereafter (Davis 1). Would you believe that it was because he refused to move from a front seat to the rear seat of an army bus? He was a legitimate soldier in the U.S. Army. He enlisted after the Pearl Harbor bombing and was promoted to Lieutenant three years later. However, unlike protester Rosa Parks, being instructed by a higher-ranking (and white) officer meant a direct order, so he moved to the back. Some thanks to a man anxious to help fight for the preservation of his country. That man was Jackie Robinson.
The youngest of five children, Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born in Georgia on January 31, 1919. At the age of 18 months, his sharecropper father left the family, distraught from the reality of his sixth child which he claimed he couldnt afford. His mother, Mallie, on the verge of insanity, moved the family to Pasadena, California to live with her brother and found work as a domestic housekeeper. While growing up with a psychologically abusive uncle, Jackie rarely saw his mother in order to develop a parental bond with her. He grew up by himself, and therefore experienced a miserable childhood.
Jackie attended a local vocational school for an academic education, as well as to learn a trade that could be financially useful to his mother and the family. It was her wish that Jackie attend Pasadenas Muir Technical High and Jackie quickly found something out about himself. He enjoyed gym class so much he was determined to try out for the sports teams, all of them. Throughout his high school career at Muir, Jackie excelled in four sports: football, basketball, baseball, and track. He even set two school records in track, which earned him a free ride to Pasadena Junior Mallie was thrilled at Jackies accomplishments and attended every meet he was in, including the meet where Jackie set a National Junior College record in the long jump of 25 6 1/2 and received an athletic scholarship to UCLA. There, he became the first athlete to earn varsity letters in four sports. Unfortunately, Jackie left UCLA in the spring of 1941, at his mothers request, to help support the family. Six months later, Pearl Harbor was bombed and Jackie enlisted in the U.S. Army.
It wasnt until the spring of 1945 when Jackie sought out his real dream of playing professional baseball. He joined the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League, a league formed in response to segregation. He spent his entire rookie season touring with the Monarchs on a salary of $400 a month. In mid-August, Jackies life was about to be changed forever.
Branch Rickey, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, had been scouring the country for months looking for a black ballplayer he felt could best withstand the pressure of being the first black man in the Major Leagues. He wanted an interview with Jackie.
Jackie crossed the mighty threshold into white professional baseball at that meeting, signing a minor league contract with the Dodgers farm club, the Montreal Royals. The following season, Jackie Robinson was promoted to the Brooklyn Dodgers. He entered the history books on April 15 as the Dodgers opened the 1947 season with the Boston Braves at Ebbets Field.
However, Robinsons track to success was filled with obstacles. His first manager in the minor leagues, a Southerner named Clay Hopper, often wondered aloud whether niggers were really humans and not monkeys (Scott 162).