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Morgan Miller Ms. Eisenberg History 6 April 2020 Jackie Robinson Breaking the Racial Barrier in the MLB In the 1940s, racial segregation was at a peak in both laws and recreation, including major sports. Many white Americans stated that blacks were not skilled enough to play in the MLB as justification to further segregate them. Jackie Robinson’s achievements, along with protests by both blacks and whites, prove that racism was the only thing preventing blacks from playing in the MLB and helped break down this racial barrier. The aftermath of the first world war created many opportunities for blacks to demand their civil rights (Bencks). With the rise of integration of blacks in art after the Harlem Renaissance, some whites felt threatened by the rise of power blacks had in American’s daily lives. One way to keep blacks beneath whites was to segregate sports. Blacks were not allowed to play in ‘America’s Past-Time,’ so they created their own leagues. Negro leagues began to pop up, and the contrasts between the MLB and the Negro Leagues were drastic. For example, when the Negro Leagues would play in a white stadium, they had to change in different locker rooms than the whites. Even the most famous black ballplayers got a fraction of the salaries that the average player in “organized baseball” received. At this time, the only way for blacks to play in Major League Baseball was to try to pass as Native Americans or Cubans. This was a choice that was not only demeaning but rarely successful (Zeiler). Robinson started his baseball career in the Negro leagues.
As his talent started to get recognized, Branch Rickey, president of the Brooklyn Dodgers, offered to help Jackie integrate himself into Major League Baseball. Robinson joined the all-white Montreal Royals, a farm team for the Dodgers. The following year, Robinson became the first black to play in the MLB, joining the Brooklyn Dodgers and breaking the racial barrier in a sport that had been segregated for more than 50 years. With rumors of white teammates being a part of the Ku Klux Klan, the atmosphere on the field and in the dugout was tense and hostile (Hanssen). During World War II, Negro Leagues’ attendance reached all-time

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