According to Jessie Jackson, "A champion wins a World Series or an Olympic event and is hoisted on the shoulders of the fans. A hero carries the people on his shoulders." This is what made Jackie Robinson a hero to African-Americans. Robinson's achievement goes beyond the statistics and championships he earned on the field. He opened the door for his entire race to play professional sports and gain acceptance as more desegregation took place. Although Jackie Robinson was not the best African-American baseball player of his time, his attitude and ability to handle racist harassment led the way for the rest of his race to play Major League Baseball, amongst other sports. Being accepted into professional sports also helped African-Americans become more easily accepted into other aspects of life. After fighting in World War II from 1941 until 1944, Jackie played for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues from 1944 until 1946. In 1946, he was selected as the best person to break the color barrier in Major League Baseball. The movie "42" that told the story of Jackie Robinson and his journey, "painted [him] as a real-life superhero while avoiding melodrama." This movie let the audience know that in this story, baseball speaks much louder than words. It's not about a bunch of different adults playing a sport; it's about the message that Jackie is playing for. Which is, everyone deserves equality in life and freedom to do anything they choose. Through his resiliency in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Jackie Robinson set the course for African-Americans to continue and expand the path to equality and true freedom through his actions in baseball. .
For a long time, it was assumed that blacks were not allowed to play in the Major Leagues simply because they had not for so long. When Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the commissioner of baseball at the time, declared that there was no rule preventing integration of the Major Leagues, the idea of an African-American joining the league was realized for the first time by a lot of people.