Jackie Robinson is one of the most well-known athletes in American history for breaking the race barrier in Major League Baseball. Before him, there was segregation in the sport – and just about all other sports, too. But while most people know this one aspect of his life, there is a lot that goes unknown by the public.
Number Fifteen: He Was Born Into a Family of Sharecroppers. Born in Cairo, Georgia, Jackie Robinson was born into a family of poor agricultural workers. Not only his parents, but much of his extended family did this same kind of work.
Number Fourteen: He Was From a Poor Family in an Affluent Town. The area in which Jackie Robinson lived was not completely stricken by poverty, but the Robinson family experienced the racism of poverty and segregation merely by existing as a poor family in a rich, mostly white town.
Number Thirteen: He Joined a Gang as a Kid. For a brief time in his youth, Jackie Robinson joined a neighborhood gang. Part of the reason for this was the exclusion he felt as a poorer child who was not allowed to participate in the same activities as some of those around him. Luckily, a childhood friend convinced him to leave the gang.
Number Twelve: He Wasn’t That Young When He Joined the Majors. Jackie Robinson was 28 years old when he joined Major League Baseball. On the one hand, it makes sense that he would have had to paid his dues in other leagues before being able to break the race barrier. But this is a relatively very old age compared to the age of most rookies today.
Number Eleven: His Brother Was an Olympic Silver Medalist. Obviously, Jackie Robinson hailed from an athletic family. His older brother Mack Robinson competed in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin and won the Silver Medal in the 200-meter race. Who came in first that year? Another pioneer in race relations in sports: Jesse Owens.
Number Ten: He Was a Track Athlete as Well as a Baseball Player. He broke his own brother’s track record, and may have been able to compete in the Olympics in 1940 had they not been cancelled because of the second World War. That’s all the Jackie Robinson information we have for you for now, but check back soon for more!