"WHERE WE COME FROM. WHERE WE NEED TO GO"
2022 marks the 75 th Anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in
professional baseball. Coaches vs. Racism (CVR) celebrates his extraordinary life and
legacy with the #CvRLegacy42 initiative.
The youngest of five children, Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born on January 31, 1919,
in Cairo, Georgia. Soon after his birth, his family moved and settled in Pasadena,
California, where he attended John Muir High School. Upon graduation in 1937 Jackie
Robinson enrolled in Pasadena Junior College and was a four-sport standout playing;
football, baseball, basketball, and track.
In 1942, Jackie was drafted into the U.S. Army where he was assigned to a segregated
cavalry unit in Fort Riley, Kansas. He was arrested by MPs and court-martialed for
refusing to move to the back of an unsegregated bus. Jackie was eventually acquitted
and stationed at Camp Breckinridge, KY, where he served as an Army athletics coach.
He was given an honorable discharge in 1944.
During his time at Camp Breckinridge, Jackie was encouraged to try out for the Kansas
City Monarchs of the Negro National League. In 1945, he signed a contract to play
shortstop for the Kansas City Monarchs and played in the Negro League All-Star Game.
He married Rachel Isum in 1946 and had their first son, Jackie Robinson Jr., that
November. The Robinsons had two more children: a daughter, Sharon, and another
Jackie made his major league baseball debut on April 15, 1947, at Ebbets Field in
Brooklyn, New York. He became the first African American baseball player in major
At 37, Jackie Robinson retired from major league baseball and the Brooklyn Dodgers in
1956. Unbeknownst to the Brooklyn Dodgers, he had taken a position with the coffee
company Chock Full O’ Nuts and agreed to quit baseball. He was the first African
American vice president of a major American corporation. From 1957 to 1964, Jackie
Robinson served as the vice president of personnel for Chock Full O’ Nuts coffee.
In 1964, he co-founded the Freedom National Bank—a Black-owned and -operated
bank in Harlem, New York—with businessman Dunbar McLaurin and served as the
commercial bank’s first chairman of the board. His wife later served as chair until 1990,
when the bank closed.
Jackie Robinson was also a towering figure in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said Robinson was “a legend and symbol in his own
time” who “challenged the dark skies of intolerance and frustration.” #CvRLegacy42
Childhood Picture: Hulton Archive/ Getty Images
Army Signing Picture: Getty Images
Group Wedding Picture: Getty Images
Family Group Picture: N/A
KC Monarchs Picture: N/A
Jackie with Dodgers Stealing Home: John Rooney/ AP Photo
Jackie with MLK/ Civil Rights/ Sports Icons: AP Photo