Jackie Robinson: I Never Had It Made

(1972)

I Never Had It Made is the 1972 autobiography of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, the man who integrated Major League Baseball (MLB). The historic role of Robinson in the integration of professional athletics and more broadly in the U.S. civil rights movement cannot be overestimated. It has been said that the major leagues were slightly ahead of the curve in expanding the rights of all players based on talent rather than skin color.

Robinson’s autobiography is a significant document because it details his life both on and off the field. As a role model for all African Americans, he understood that he would have to surpass white athletes in order to earn the respect of his teammates, opposing players, and the nation’s sports fans. Robinson was acutely aware of the revolutionary task ahead of him: He literally stepped up to the plate to try to make the United States a land of opportunity for everyone. Robinson’s story resonates even in the twenty-first century, especially as...

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Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey (Library of Congress)

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