Everyone, Play Ball!

Everyone, Play Ball!

Read the following with your child:

Today you will learn about Jackie Robinson who was the first African-American man to play Major League Baseball in the 20th century. In high school and college Jackie played football, baseball, basketball, tennis and ran track. He won many awards and was considered the most valuable player on his team. In college, Jackie was much better at football than baseball. He continued to play football until War World II started. For two years, Jackie served in the US Army as a soldier. One day, Jackie refused to sit in the back of a bus that was not supposed to be segregated. He was reported to the military police and eventually was honorably discharged from the army.

After the army, Jackie coached basketball at a college, and then played baseball in the Negro League. Jackie was then chosen to become the first African-American baseball player since 1880 by the Brooklyn Dodgers. The coach of the Dodgers believed Jackie was courageous and brave enough to represent the future of integrated sports. A lot of people saw Jackie as a role model because he dealt with a lot of negativity from other players, teams and baseball fans. Jackie knew that the only way he could fight racism from other players was to beat them on the field. He was named Rookie of the Year and played baseball for 10 seasons with the Dodgers. In addition, Jackie was the first African-American player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and the first African-American to become a vice president for a major American company called Chock Full O'Nuts. Jackie Robinson didn't fight racism with violence but with hard work and perseverance.

Activity: Baseball Rock Craft

What You Need:

  • A smooth baseball-sized rock
  • White and red paint
  • A paint brush
  • Sandpaper


In this craft activity your child will make a baseball shaped paper weight. The paperweight will be made out of a strong rock to symbolize Jackie Robinson's strength.
  1. Wash the rock and wait for it to try.
  2. Use sandpaper to smooth around the edges of the rock.
  3. Paint the rock white and then use red paint to add the stitching design.
  4. Let the rock dry outside or in a well-ventilated area.
  5. If you'd like, ask your child to think of someone who is strong not only physically but emotionally. Discuss which they think is more important.

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