Author: Brooks Melchior

JACKIE ROBINSON: FOOTBALL HERO BEFORE BASEBALL STAR

Jackie Robinson was already an inspiration to millions of Black Americans – and had been for eight years – when in 1947 he became the first Black person since 1884 to play Major League Baseball. Because in 1939, Robinson burst upon the national sports scene as one of the best American football players in the country as he and teammates Kenny Washington, Woody Strode and Ray Bartlett established the undefeated 1939 UCLA football squad as the first team in  the history of America’s white-dominated world of commercial spectator sports to be led by as many as four Black players.

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