@ National Portrait Gallery
DescriptionIn 1947 Jackie Robinson transformed professional sports by breaking baseball's color barrier to become the first African American player in the major leagues. A trailblazer for equal opportunity, Robinson endured torrents of abuse in his first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Some of his own teammates mounted an abortive effort to have him dropped from the roster, while bigoted opponents and spectators alike taunted, heckled, and harassed him. Robinson steeled himself and responded with electrifying play that carried the Dodgers to a National League championship and earned him honors as Rookie of the Year. One of the top draws in baseball during ten memorable seasons with the Dodgers, Robinson paved the way for black major leaguers such as Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. After retiring from the game, he remained a staunch advocate for civil rights while building a successful business career.
Gelatin Silver Print
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution