Jackie Robinson: I Never Had It Made

(1972)

Explanation and Analysis of the Document

I Never Had It Made, Jackie Robinson’s autobiography as told to Alfred Duckett, was published in 1972, the same year Robinson died. The book stands out because of Robinson’s candor, intelligence, and humor. His story tells not only about his life on the field but also about his personal life, even recounting his son’s struggle with drug addiction and his early death in an automobile accident. Throughout the book, Robinson reveals his feelings about politics, the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, and the progress (or lack thereof) of African Americans in society. He openly confronts the critics who accused him of being a black man “made by white people.” He acknowledges three white men who were like godfathers to him in different aspects of his life: Branch Rickey in athletics, Bill Black (from Chock full o’Nuts) in business, and Nelson Rockefeller in politics. Robinson felt especially close to Rickey and greatly admired him for...

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Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey (Library of Congress)

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