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Jackie Robinson Jackie Robinson born as Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born in Cairo Georgia in 1919 to a family of sharecroppers His mother Mallie Robinson single-handedly raised Jackie and her four other children They were the only black family on their block and the prejudice they encountered only strengthened their bonds From this humble beginning would grow the first baseball player to break Major League Baseballs color barrier that segregated major league baseball for more than 50 years Growing up in a large single-parent family Robinson excelled early at all sports and learned to make his own way in life At UCLA Robinson became the first athlete to win varsity letters in four sports baseball basketball football and track In 1941 he was named to the All-American football team After his college education was left incomplete due to financial pressures Robinson enlisted into the US Army After two years in the army he had progressed to second lieutenant His army career was cut short due to a court-martial sparked by Robinsons objections to racial discrimination In the end Jackie left the US Army with an honorable discharge In 1945 there were few career opportunities open to a black man even to those who had attended college Jackie played one season in the Negro Baseball League traveling all over the Midwest with the Kansas City Monarchs In 1947 when Jackie Robinson first donned a Brooklyn Dodger uniform he pioneered the integration of professional athletics in America By breaking the color barrier in baseball the nations preeminent sport he courageously challenged the deeply rooted custom of racial segregation in both the North and the South At the end of Robinsons rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 he had become National League Rookie of the Year with 12 homers a league-leading 29 steals and a 297 average In 1949 he was selected as the NL Most Valuable player of the Year and also won the batting
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