The Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson's Impact On American Society

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In times of intense divide, the United States often finds a unifying symbol to bring the country together; during the 1950s and 1960s, this was baseball. At this point in American history, baseball was the national pastime. It dominated the world of sports and entertainment for Americans. One of the major reasons baseball was so popular was due to the proliferation of media outlets writing about, discussing, and analyzing the sport. During the Civil Rights Era, radio and newspapers had an important role with the iconic star, Jackie Robinson. Robinson’s impact on baseball and American society cannot be understated nor underestimated. This ‘Great Experiment’ was a test for the Jim Crow laws that still plagued the nation. With the increase in the Negro Baseball Leagues, black newspapers became more influential than ever before. Black newspapers and writers, such as Wendell Smith of the Pittsburgh Courier, covered the integration of African Americans into the major leagues with precision and attention to detail. These journalists were essential to the transition and transformation of baseball that occurred before and after April 15th, 1947, when Robinson made his …show more content…

Black newspapers and journalists were key figures in why Robinson was chosen to be the first participant in the “Great Experiment”. Without the help of black newspapers, Branch Rickey would not have been aware of Robinson’s existence. He also crushed the color barrier in baseball, which had a direct impact on the Civil Rights Era. Baseball was America’s pastime, so the work of black newspapers extended to American society as well as sports. Black newspapers lobbied white team owners to integrate the league. They set the precedent for future generations of journalists who had to explore race relations in America during the

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