1947 April 10

Branch Rickey Acquires Jackie Robinson’s Contract


Branch Rickey, general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, purchased the contract of Jackie Robinson on this day with the clear intent of playing him and ending racial segregation in major league baseball. Robinson played his first game for the Dodgers, ending the color line in baseball, on April 15, 1947.

Jackie Robinson could not escape the Cold War, however. In large part because of his stature, he was called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), which wanted him to denounce left-wing African-Americans. See his HUAC hearing on July 18, 1949. Robinson was generally nonpolitical, but he became so disgusted with President Dwight Eisenhower’s failure to lead on civil rights that he wrote the president an angry letter, on May 13, 1958.

Learn more: Arnold Rampersad, Jackie Robinson: A Biography (1997)

Watch Jackie Robinson steal home against the Yankees: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XY-XshGhMU

Watch The Jackie Robinson Story (1950): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNm-UlJmKUg

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