“Separate but equal” laws segregated society and culture in the United States for the first half of the 20th century. After World War II, the tide began to turn and one place where Americans saw a change was in professional sports. In 1946, African American baseball player and military veteran Jackie Robinson became the first black man to play on a white team in a segregated league. With support from his wife and community, he broke that “color barrier” during spring training in Daytona Beach, Florida, at the City Island Ballpark.
Robinson earned the title Rookie of the Year in 1947, played in the World Series in 1955, and was a passionate Civil Rights activist when his athletic career ended. The “City Island Ballpark” is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its association with him and renamed in his honor. This lesson explores Jackie Robinson’s life and the events of 1946, racism and “Jim Crow,” pop culture’s influence on a nation of laws, and the historic beachfront ballpark.