Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers: Baseball and Broken Barriers

In 1947, all eyes were on Flatbush and the Brooklyn Dodgers. The team had signed Jackie Robinson, an African-American, to a major league baseball contract marking the first attempt to integrate “organized baseball.”

A portion of The City Reliquary Museum's Jackie Robinson collection on display

A portion of The City Reliquary Museum’s Jackie Robinson collection on display

Ever since 1887, organized baseball had become synonymous with “all white.” Robinson’s signing proved so earth-shaking that  sports commentators and newspaper editors came to call his first season with the Dodgers “baseball’s great experiment.” This experiment would not only transform baseball’s demographics, it would contribute to the nascent civil rights movement.

Robinson’s story is a remarkable one. An inexperienced player, but an athlete and activist in every sense, Robinson proved to be the right man to take the first steps toward baseball’s integration. Combating racism in America’s national pastime would be an uphill battle though, and the Reliquary’s collection of Robinson memorabilia reminds us of that battle.

So who was Jackie Robinson…


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