It’s almost Opening Day! Baseball Heroes and Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson

Of all the lessons baseball can teach us, none are more important than the one taught by Jackie Robinson, the ballplayer who broke the “gentleman’s agreement” that no black player would be allowed to play in major league baseball. Promoted by a daring league executive and former player, Branch Rickey, Robinson broke the game’s color barrier by entering the majors in 1947. He definitely had the skills and determination to make it, but the question was, could he endure the abuse that would come his way?

In this activity, students explore Jackie Robinson’s character and his impact on baseball and American civil rights. Students will construct character sketches of Robinson and various people who played a significant role during his entry and first years in major league baseball, then will build historical role-play skits or interviews on key events in Jackie Robinson’s first years in the major leagues.

To support your classroom activities, download the “Crossing the Line: Jackie Robinson” lesson plan and watch The Tenth Inning, a two-part, four-hour documentary film directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick which tells the tumultuous story of the national pastime from the 1990s to the present day.

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