Born in 1919 Georgia, Jackie Robinson spent the majority of his youth in California as a son to a single mother of five. As a young man, Robinson attended UCLA and was an accomplished athlete, excelling in football, basketball, baseball, and track and field. After leaving university, he served in the U.S. Army, honorably discharged after standing up for his rights and refusing to move to the back of a segregated bus. 

In 1945 Robinson began his baseball career in the Negro leagues with the Kansas City Monarchs. In the same year, an historic opportunity would come by way of the Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager, Branch Rickey. Rickey offered Robinson a chance to play for the Dodgers farm team, the Montreal Royals. 

On April 15th, 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first Black man to integrate the sport of baseball, playing his first pro game with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He faced immense backlash. He endured racism, slurs, and threats throughout his successful 10-year long baseball career. 

After baseball, his work in civil rights made a significant impact. He went on to become the first Black man named vice president of a major American company, (Chock full o’Nuts), an active member of the NAACP, co-founder of Freedom National Bank, and the founder of Jackie Robinson Construction Company. 

Today, Major League Baseball honors the contribution of Jackie Robinson. Each year on April 15th, all players on every team wear his number, 42. Sankofa Impact is proud to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day!

“I believe in the goodness of a free society. And I believe that society can remain good only as long as we are willing to fight for it–and to fight against whatever imperfections may exist.”

—Jackie Robinson