Robinson's Impact Today

Jackie Robinson died on October 24, 1972. He was universally mourned as a great man and a hero, both on the baseball field and off. Vernon Jordan, a leader of the civil rights movement called him "a trailblazer for all black people and a great spokesman for justice."

Jackie Robinson has affected the lives every African-American athlete since he broke the color barrier in 1947. There is a very telling quote by Willie Mays that says, "I don't make history, I chase fly balls." Willie Mays had only to worry about swinging a bat, while Jackie Robinson had to worry about swinging a bat and about being the only black man in the Major Leagues. Robinson, by being the man who crossed the color barrier, took that burden of segregation away from every black athlete to follow.

Further praise of Robinson came from John Thorn, when he said, "For me, baseball's finest moment is the day Jackie Robinson set foot on a major league field for the first time. . . I'm most proud to be an American, most proud to be a baseball fan when baseball has led America rather than followed it. It has done so several times, but this is the most transforming incident. . .Jackie Robinson is my great hero among baseball heroes and he's my great hero as an American. He is an individual who shaped the crowd."

After Jackie's death, his wife Rachel became president of the Jackie Robinson Development Company, which built over sixteen hundred units of housing. In 1973, Rachel established the Jackie Robinson Foundation, an orgainzation which provides scholarships to minority students. The liberties and opportunities for which Jackie fought all his life live on through the foundation that bears his name.

Jackie's influence also lives on in books, both autobiographies and those written about him and his influence on baseball. Jackie had several autobiographies, including Jackie Robinson: My Own Story and I Never Had It Made. Jackie's image as an American hero has also been the inspiration for many children's books.

Read reviews of children's literature inspired by Jackie Robinson.