Jackie Robinson: The baseball legend's legacy after baseball
Jackie Robinson broke down barriers in baseball, but his civil-rights campaign continued well after he retired.
Jackie Robinson is probably best known for breaking the color barrier in major-league baseball in 1947. Within the realm of baseball, Mr. Robinson's legacy is one of overcoming hardship and in two year's time leading the Brooklyn Dodgers to win the National League title.
Mainstream American history, however, seems to shift away from Mr. Robinson after his retirement in 1957. Robinson endured years of hardship in the National League, from jeering fans to rival teams and fellow players who tried to opt out of games with him.
But Robinson was just as active in his pursuit of equality during his retirement, as a public advocate for civil rights and a board member of the NAACP.
After retiring, Robinson worked on the NAACP’s “Fight for Freedom,” a fundraising and advocacy campaign aimed at abolishing segregation and discrimination by 1963, according to the Library of Congress.
An article published in July 23, 1957 by the Baltimore Afro-American reports that a sponsored dinner for the Freedom Fund held in Chicago that month raised $20,000. Robinson, the national chairman of the drive at the time, urged attendees to pledge to the NAACP and support integration.
“In our struggle for civil rights we must not be motivated by color but by our love of God andd [sic] our love of freedom. I would resign as head of the campaign today if I thought for one moment that the NAACP was fighting only for the rights of colored people.”