In the book, “Jackie Robinson and the American


In the book, “Jackie Robinson and the American Dilemma,”
John Wilson explains Robinson’s fight with segregation and the effect he left
on American sports. John Wilson begins the biography with Robinson’s childhood
days, he then moves forward and expresses how Jackie changes the perspective of
racist Americans. Towards the end of the biography, Wilson briefly lists a
number of difficulties Robinson faces because of his family and the
assassinations happening in America. As Wilson describes it, “in the space of a
mere three months in early 1968, Robinson suffered through five personal and
political disasters of a magnitude that would have destroyed the spirit of a
weaker man” (Wilson, 177). Overall, Robinson’s biography is filled with
achievements which raised the spirits of African Americans at that time, as
well as other races till today.

            Jackie’s
mother, Mallie Robinson, was his biggest inspiration in his childhood days. She
was dedicated towards working hard and earning money; and more dedicated
towards God. Although they were the only Black family on the block, she raised
her five children well to never receive any complaints from any of the
neighbors. Jackie, along with his brothers, excelled at sports from an early
age. His dedication towards sports started as early as middle school when he
joined a small “gang” with the best athletes in the neighborhood and together
they competed with other gangs. However, the mischievous gang members used to “steal
fruits from orchards or fruit stands, throw dirt clods at cars or rocks at
street lights” (Wilson 7). Fortunately for Jack, he had a police officer, a mechanic,
and the church pastor encourage him to follow the right path; for the sake of
his mother, Mallie, Jackie focused on educating himself to become a valuable
member of his family.  Along with
excelling at football, baseball, basketball and track, Jackie also received
achievements which made his peers recognize him as a talented African American.
After graduating high school, Jackie enrolled in Pasadena Junior College, but
soon began to doubt his necessity of education when his older brother Mack, a
national winner at track, began to work as a sweeper despite of his education
and achievements. “Jack was convinced that no matter how much education or
fame a black earned, he would have minimal opportunity I any professional
endeavor” (Wilson 11). Jackie continued to excel in sports despite of the
racial comments he received from opposing teams members from different
colleges. In some cases, Jackie did not hold back his anger upon racial
comments and fights broke out on the field with opposing players. Several
times, Robinson had spent nights in the jail due to no resistance towards
segregation. After spending two successful years in University of California
Los Angeles, Robinson dropped out due to a couple of losses from his teams.
After working several jobs to support his family, Robinson joined the US Army
and served for two years. After the segregation incident on the bus, Robinson
was discharged from the Army. This incident, was just one of the many which
strengthened Robinson’s will and spirit to break the color barrier. Although he
loyally served in the army for 31 months, Jackie was discharged with no veteran
benefits; these incidents committed him to seek justice for Blacks more than
ever. His spirit was raised, and he maintained his belief in God and thanked
him for the strengths he received from these incidents. According to Wilson,
“army segregation raised uncomfortable questions about that American dilemma,
how the nation was not living up to its stated ideals, and with the United
States engaged in a war got democracy abroad, the failures of democracy at home
were increasingly embarrassing” (Wilson 37).

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            Robinson
quickly moved forward, earning jobs related to his favorite sport baseball.
When Robinson joined the Kansas Monarchs, he did not realize he would ever be
signed up for the Dodgers. He played whole-heartedly when he was a Monarch, however
the spirits of his teammates were very uncompetitive for the dignified
Robinson. As Wilson explains, “The team seemed to play rather casually and
sloppily, turning up the energy level only intermittently and sometimes just
quitting a game after six or seven innings” (Wilson 46). However, during his
days in the team, Robinson’s rage for segregation was beginning to show. There
were times when his team was not allowed in hotels or diners. He was once
forbidden to use a restroom at a gas station. Nevertheless, his teammates
accepted their fate as they had no better viable options. They had lost the
hope for advancement long ago, unlike Robinson. In 1946, Jackie finally signs a
contract with the Dodgers organizations, which began as his first step towards
ending the racial color barrier. Before Jackie Robinson, the last black player
in American baseball was in the 1880s, who did not last very long and did not
have significant impact in breaking the barrier.

                Robinson’s
life significantly changed when Branch Rickey, A Major League Baseball
executive, approached him. Rickey and Robinson shared the same goals: an
integrated baseball league. Rickey was strictly feared God and his punishment
in hereafter, therefore he took a leap against segregation and signed the
contract with Robinson. According to Rickey, Robinson was proud and defiant,
but he was in self-control and religious. Black struggle for equality began to
ease as soon as media covered this news of Robinson joining the Dodgers. Some
White press exclaimed that, “if Robinson hits homers and plays a whale of a
game for Montreal, the fans will soon lose the sight of his color” (Wilson 63).
Practice after practice, among other White teammates, news began to spread, and
the racial barrier began to break. As anticipated by Rickey and Robinson, other
Black baseball players began to join the Leagues, with Jackie as their
inspiration. About 4,000 people came to watch the first game Robinson played,
and several Black children cheered for their role model. A time came when
several White teammates of Robinson signed a pact to not play with a Black man
in their team. When their manager, Leo 

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