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Robinson, Jackie

Baseball great Jackie Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia on January 31, 1919. Although he was born in Georgia, Robinson’s family moved to California when he was young. He was a multi-sport athlete at UCLA, where he averaged over eleven yards per carry in football, led the conference in scoring in basketball for two years, won the NCAA long jump title in track, and was a champion swimmer. After spending a year playing minor league baseball in Canada, Robinson made history when he broke professional baseball’s color barrier by playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Not only did Robinson excel at the game, but was masterful at controlling his emotions in the face of opposition to his playing. But breaking the color barrier was only one of many “firsts” for Robinson. He was also the first black to win the MVP award, the first black elected to the Hall of Fame (1962), and the first baseball player ever to appear on an American postage stamp. Upon retiring from baseball, Robinson went on to another successful career - he starred in a movie about his life, wrote several autobiographical works, had a weekly newspaper column and a radio show. In 1972 the Dodgers retired his number; he died October 24 of that same year.

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Source: National Archives