Jackie Robinson’s Life Was No Home Run for Racial Progress

America Loved the Baseball Star on the Field, Not Off It

Jackie Robinson ZPS

Jackie Robinson’s story brings together two American obsessions: sports and freedom. This is why we never tire of his tale. Yet in the way that the story has been handed down, it masks as much about our national identity as it illuminates.

The story of Robinson’s breakthrough often comes in the language and rhythms of baseball—the stuff of hits and runs, stolen bases and brushback pitches. He wrought havoc on the basepaths, demolished a racial barrier, and opened up our society.

The popular tale emphasizes Robinson’s moral courage, and rightly so. …

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