Jackie Robinson forever changed the face of American history on Opening Day 1947, as he became one of the most influential athletes to break the color barrier in professional sports, and in several ways, the color barrier in America. Born into a poor black family in the South, Robinson had to deal with a racist nation growing up. Robinson also dealt with this racism throughout his Hall of Fame career. Changed perhaps by all the hardships that he had faced during his childhood and baseball career, Jackie became an advocate for racial indifference. After his career had ended, Robinson used his popularity and fame to become involved in government, business deals, and with civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X. He strived to help under privilege black children, and help them stay off the streets and plan for success in their future. " I never had it made, but I had to try," quoted Robinson, (Robinson, 16).
Jack "Jackie" Roosevelt Robinson was born January 31, 1919 to Jerry and Mallie Robinson. Jerry was a very poor sharecropper, and brought in enough money to feed his five children. Mallie worked as a house keeper to a very wealthy plantation owner. Jerry, tired of being poor, started to have an affair with the daughter of a very wealthy black family. Mallie upset with her husband, took her kids and along with several other families, gathered their belongings and moved to Pasadena, California. This is where Jackie would group up, and turn to athletics to solve his academic and home .
problems. A natural athlete, Robinson played football, basketball, baseball, and track and field at Pasadena Community College. He then went on to UCLA, (University of California, Los .
Angeles), where he again excelled in football, basketball, baseball and track. After college, he was drafted in the Army and served in World War II. Upon his return, he played professional basketball for the Los Angeles Red Devils for a year.