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Jackie Robinson

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Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson was born to a sharecropper's cabin on January 31, 1919. He was the fifth and last surviving child. The Robinson's worked for the Sasser family in exchange for their cabin and a few provisions. The family earned the equivalent of three dollars a week, which could only be spent at the Sasser plantation store.

Jerry Robinson, Jackie's father, left the family in 1919. Later the Robinson family moved to California where Jackie's uncle lived. Life was better there, but the family was still very poor. Jackie's mother worked long hours as a domestic, leaving the children home on their own. Gaining an education was very important to Jackie's mother.

Because Jackie grew up in a time where opportunities were extremely limited for African Americans, he had to fight for everything. Jackie's mother taught him that the future would not just "work out" but that he would have to stand up for himself at all times. He did. He had a temper and a fiery personality, which often got him into trouble. Jackie loved playing practical jokes that could sometimes be cruel. He was also the leader of the Pepper Street gang, he felt comfortable in the gang because the members were a mixture of African American, Japanese Americans, Hispanic, and some whites. The gang got into some minor trouble with the law due to stealing, and other unlawful activities. Jackie decided to leave the gang because it wasn't helping his life in any way. Sports probably also played a part in that decision.

Jackie grew up idolizing his older brother Mack, who was also an outstanding athlete. Mack Robinson was so good in track, he went to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany as a member of the U.S. track team. He finished second to Jesse Owens in the 200-meter dash. Having Mack as an older brother helped push Jackie in his own desires.

Jackie did excel in many sports. He went to Pasadena Junior College where he played on the football, basketball, baseball, and track teams. After graduating from there, he received a scholarship to go to UC LA. Jackie enjoyed great success at UCLA, in fact he was at least one of the best players on each team. He was the first person ever to letter in four sports at UCLA.

Jackie left UCLA in 1941 and began playing profession football for the Los Angeles Bulldogs. His football career was ended by the beginning of World War II. In 1942, Jackie left for the army. He served for thirty one months, during which time he was sent to officer's



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