By Popular Demand: Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s
Baseball, the Color Line, and Jackie Robinson
Drawing the Color Line: 1860s to 1890s
Americans began playing baseball on informal teams, using local rules, in the early 1800s. By the 1860s, the sport, unrivaled in popularity, was being described as America's "national pastime."
1900s to 1930s
Professional African-American teams and short-lived "negro leagues" formed in the late 1800s. Some interracial games occurred when major league white teams played black teams in barnstorming (exhibition) games. However, during the early 1900s, blacks were not allowed to play on white professional teams in the United States.
Breaking the Color Line: 1940 to 1946
By the 1940s, organized baseball had been racially segregated for many years. The black press and some of their white colleagues had long campaigned for the integration of baseball. Wendell Smith of The Pittsburgh Courier was especially vocal. World War II experiences prompted more people to question segregation practices.
Robinson as a Dodger: 1947 to 1956
When he began playing for the Dodgers in 1947, at age 28, Jackie Robinson was older than the typical rookie. Baseball fans and players reacted to Robinson with everything from unbridled enthusiasm evident in newspaper headlines, to wariness and open hostility expressed in beanball pitches and death threats. His athletic abilities prevailed despite the intense pressures caused by breaking the "color line." Robinson won...
Robinson's Later Career: 1957 to 1961
Jackie Robinson, Rachel Robinson, and their three children (David, Sharon, and Jackie, Jr.) at home in Stamford, Connecticut. Photograph by Arthur Rothstein, 1956. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Look magazine Photograph Collection. Reproduction number: LC-L9-56-7021-A, frame 9. Not to be reproduced for trade or advertising purposes.)This photograph is one of many taken to illustrate the article "My Future," published in Look magazine...
1962 to 1972
The Baseball Hall of Fame Cover from program for Southern Christian Leadership Conference Hall of Fame dinner honoring Jackie Robinson, July 20, 1962, Waldorf-Astoria, New York City. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Arthur Mann Papers. Reproduced with permission from the SCLC.) Robinson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, his first year of eligibility. (A player must be retired from baseball...
"One Hundred Percent Wrong Club" Speech
Speech by Branch Rickey for the "One Hundred Percent Wrong Club" banquet, Atlanta, Georgia, January 20, 1956. Broadcast on WERD 860 AM radio. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Branch Rickey Papers)
"The Jackie Robinson Story"
Script Excerpt and Additional Lobby Card Images The screenplay is in the Arthur Mann Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. (For additional information on the Arthur Mann Papers, you can leave this site and read a summary catalog record for the collection. )
Baseball Game Program for Kansas City Monarchs and Indianapolis Clowns
This program contains "interesting facts about Negro League Baseball," portraits of players (including three women), profiles of managers and owners, and "Baseball Banter" by Ed Hamman. In the 1950s, the Indianapolis Clowns and the Kansas City Monarchs emphasized showmanship and entertainment, which had long been elements in Negro League ball.
"Meet the Press"
Trascript of television and radio broadcast Program produced by Lawrence Spivak for the National Broadcasting Company, Sunday, April 14, 1957. Published by National Publishing Company, Washington, D.C., vol. 1, no. 15. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Lawrence Spivak Papers)
Citation for Jackie Robinson
41st Spingarn Medalist, December 8, 1956 (Text from the NAACP Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress) For additional information on the NAACP Records, you can leave this site and read a summary catalog record for the collection.
Hall of Fame
Cover and selected pages from program for Southern Christian Leadership Conference Hall of Fame dinner honoring Jackie Robinson, July 20, 1962, Waldorf-Astoria, New York City. Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Arthur Mann Papers. Reproduced with permission from the SCLC.) For additional information on the Mann Papers you can leave this site and read a summary catalog record for the collection.)