Baseball was a White man's game for 100 years. That changed forever in 1946 when the Montreal Royals signed Jackie Robinson, the first professional Black baseball player in the major leagues.
The Royals, of the International League, was the AAA farm team of the Brooklyn Dodgers. President and owner of the Dodgers, Branch Rickey, chose Montreal as the test site for the bold move, saying that he thought of Robinson as a ball player first and that it was a point of fairness.
News that the team had signed Robinson was met by a storm of controversy and on tour he was subjected to threats and jeers. Critics expressed doubt, saying Robinson was too muscular to be a good hitter. Robinson played his first game for the Royals on April 18, 1946 in Jersey City, NJ, and played the kind of game that would make him legendary, driving in four runs with four hits, including a three-run homer, and stealing two bases. The Royals won 14-1.
Robinson proved on the field and off that Black players were as deserving of the major leagues as anyone. He helped the Royals win the "Little World Series" in the single year he played for the team, after which he was promoted to the Dodgers. He retired from the game in 1957. Jackie Robinson died in 1972.
The Historica Minute Jackie Robinson dramatizes significant moments in Robinson's life. Apply what you understand about Robinson as you view the vignette.
Black Crafters Guild
The website for the Black Crafters Guild offers images and information about art and crafts created by those of the African Diaspora.
Preston Cultural Festival
In addition to showcasing the creativity and talent of visual artists, vocalists, musicians, actors, writers and storytellers, the festival gives community residents the opportunity to express their art, culture and history in their own voice. From the Canada Council.
Jackie Robinson, the first Black pro in baseball
Watch a 1987 CBC News story featuring scenes of Jackie Robinson playing for the Montreal Royals of the International League.
Jackie Robinson and 1945 Royals
This article focuses on the early years of Jackie Robinson’s baseball career. Also features a photograph of Jackie Robinson in a Montreal Royals uniform. From the website for the Society for American Baseball Research – Quebec.
Jackie Robinson: A Life Story
A video clip about baseball great Jackie Robinson. From YouTube.
A career profile of the legendary Jackie Robinson. From the Gale website.
Baseball, the Color Line, and Jackie Robinson
An account of the events leading to Jack (John) Roosevelt Robinson joining the Brooklyn Dodgers. Click on “letter” to read a letter Jackie Robinson wrote to Branch Rickey, President of the Brooklyn Baseball Club. From the website for the Library of Congress in the US.
Baseball: An Illustrated History
Scroll down to page 287 to read a riveting account of how Jackie Robinson successfully overcame the persistent prejudice of some baseball players and fans at the start of his career with the Brooklyn Dodgers. From Google Books.
People of African Descent
Lesson plans about works of art by Black artists and more. From the National Gallery of Canada.
The last paragraph of this article focuses on contemporary artistic movements in Canada’s Black community. From The Canadian Encyclopedia.