Jackie Robinson, the man who desegregated Major League Baseball, was also known for his strong support of civil rights initiatives. All of that led to the decision of the NAACP to present him with its prestigious Spingarn Medal on Dec. 8, 1956, the year before the organization gave the award to Martin Luther King Jr.
Robinson made history for breaking the baseball color line when the Brooklyn Dodgers started him at first base in 1947. As the first major league team to play a Black man since the 1880s, the Dodgers ended the racial segregation that had relegated Black players to the Negro Leagues for six decades. He is widely respected because of his strong character and unquestionable talent. He also contributed significantly to a number of initiatives in the civil rights movement.
Later in his post-baseball career, Robinson became the first Black television analyst in Major League Baseball and the first Black vice-president of a major American corporation. In the 1960s, he helped establish the Freedom National Bank, an African-American-owned financial institution based in Harlem.
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