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"The way I figured it, I was even with baseball and baseball with me. The game had done much for me, and I had done much for it."

— Jackie Robinson

Autographed ball, 1952
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Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers autographed this ball in 1952, the year they took the National League pennant. During Robinson's 10-year career with the Dodgers, the team played in six World Series and won once.

Jackie Robinson
First African American to Play Baseball in the Major Leagues

In 1947, on opening day at Ebbets Field, Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color line, changing a game and a country forever. Robinson's stunning career with the Brooklyn Dodgers struck a blow to America's deep-seated racial stereotypes. His awe-inspiring performances helped integrate of baseball. One of the most consistently productive and exciting players in the game, Robinson piled up statistics and became the first African American to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Robinson's success as a civil rights pioneer hinged on his actions on and off the field. He handled both praise and prejudice with poise. As an advocate for America's growing civil rights movement, Robinson promoted fundamental social reform. His personal integrity and stunning feats on the field made him a living symbol of America's democratic dream.

Name: Jackie Roosevelt Robinson
Born: Cairo, Georgia, 1919–1972
  • First African American to play Major League Baseball, 1947
  • First African American inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame, 1962
  • 6 National League pennants, 1 World Series win
  • Stole home 19 times
  • Retired with .311 batting average, 1956
  • Rookie of the Year, 1947
  • Lifetime civil rights activist

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National Museum of American History   Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service