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Attention Material: I’m sure you have all heard of the name Jackie Robinson. You probably know him just as a really good baseball player. Or maybe you know he was the first African-American to play Major League Baseball. Jackie Robinson is all of these things and much more.
Motivate Audience to Listen: He is a man of courage and bravery for not letting the racism keep him from doing what he loves most. He was a civil rights activist and a family man.
Most of all he set the foundation for all African-Americans to be able to play sports on white teams.
Establish Credibility: I learned about the fascinating life of Jackie Robinson when watching the 2013 film 42. The movie focuses on Jackie’s accomplishments and the struggles he had to go through to play in the Major Leagues.
Make Purpose Clear: It is important that I share with you Jackie’s story so his story and message can live on.
Preview: His story begins with his life before the Major League’s, his accomplishments while playing baseball, and the legacy he kept building after retirement.
[Transition: First of all is his life before the Major League’s.]
Jackie’s story all began in the year of 1919, when he was born. Robinson was born in the state of Georgia. He was raised by a single mother and lived in poverty. He also happened to be the youngest of five children.
I read in Barry Denenberg’s book from 1990 named Stealing Home: The Story of Jackie Robinson that he attended John Muir High School and Pasadena Junior College.
(Denenberg 10-13) He played baseball, football, track, and basketball at Pasadena. (Stealing Home: The Story of Jackie Robinson) In 1938, he was named the region’s Most Valuable Player in baseball. He claims he got his inspiration for athletics from his brother Matthew. Jackie was the first college student to ever earn four varsity letters in four different sports at the University of California.
He later left UCLA because of financial problems. He then played football for the semi-professional Honolulu Bears. Around this time Jackie met Rachel Isum, a nurse. The two got married in February of 1946. They had three children together named Jack, David, and Sharon. Appearing on the radio broadcast interview, “Meet the Press” on April 14, 1957 produced by Lawrence Spivak, Jackie said “My little boy wants to play baseball. I think it is a great game for youngsters. It gives them a chance to meet and know people of all faiths.”
According to Jackie Robinson Biography from biography.com which was last updated on January 18, 2018, Jackie went into the US Army and served as a second lieutenant. He was arrested at a bootcamp in Texas because he did not give up his seat on a segregated bus. (Jackie Robinson Biography from biography.com)
[Transition: Soon after serving in the army, Jackie started his baseball career]
Robinson achieved many outstanding accomplishments during his baseball career. When his career started, blacks and whites played in separate leagues. Jackie started playing in a negro league. He was soon chosen to help integrate Major League Baseball and joined the all-white Montreal Royals in 1946. This team was a farm team of the Dodgers.
The Dodgers president made Jackie swear he would not let racism get him to act up. Teams and crowds always made racist comments to him. He had a great first year and was promoted to play with the Dodgers. His first Dodgers game was on April 15, 1947. This made him the first black man to ever play Major League Baseball. Players on opposing teams threatened to not play. His own teammates also didn’t want to play. Leo Rurocher, the manager, said he’d trade them for Robinson anyday. One time the team captain walked over and put his arm around Jackie, a gesture that is now legendary. (Jackie Robinson Biography from biography.com)
Jackie earned many rewards. He received the title “Rookie of The Year” in 1947. Was the most valuable player of the national league in 1949. His team beat the Yankees in the world series in 1955. He set a record of stealing home 19 times. He became the highest-paid player from the Dodgers ever. Jackie had 137 home runs. He also had 734 runs batted in. His baseball career lasted a decade long. His accomplishments allowed other athletes like Satchel Paige and Hank Aaron to also play. Jackie once said, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
[Transition: Jackie’s accomplishments didn’t end with his baseball career]
Jackie’s legacy only continued to grow after retirement. In 1956, he joined the New York Giants, but he didn’t ever play in a game. He retired in 1957. He started to become involved in business and worked as an activist for social change. He became an executive at a coffee company. He played a big part of the establishment of the African-American freedom bank. Jackie testified about discrimination multiple times. During his baseball career him and his wife received insults and death threats. His wife claimed they did everything they could to provide a safe home that sheltered their kids from racism.
According to Jackie Robinson, Baseball Hall of Fame he was the first black person to ever be inducted in the baseball hall of fame in 1962. The Dodgers retired his jersey number, which was 42, in 1972. Jackie died from heart problems in 1972. When he died, his wife established the Jackie Robinson Foundation. It’s focus is to help people by giving out scholarships and providing mentoring programs. In 1978, in Harlem NYC, a park was made in honor of Jackie. (Jackie Robinson Biography from biography.com)
[Transition: The film tells the whole story of Jackie’s life, which is exactly what I have done today for you.]
I have told Jackie’s life story from three different parts of his life. I told his story before his baseball career. I talked about his accomplishments while playing for the Dodgers. I explained how his legacy went on after his retirement.
Throughout every stage of his life Jackie showed that he possessed qualities of bravery and strength. Whenever life threw him a challenged he found a way to conquer it. Not only did Jackie open doors for other black athletes, but he opened doors for us all. His life was a great example of the idea that you should always keep fighting and stand up for what you believe in. Jackie’s story is a story that everyone should hear and learn from.
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