Home Run in Harlem

         After the first World War in 1919, two major events happened in American history that would set the tone for the future forever. First, the Harlem Renaissance years surfaced, and second, the first ever colored man to play major league baseball, Jackie Robinson, was born. Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 5.46.32 PMThe Harlem Renaissance was a period of cultural, artistic, and athletic enhancement that started in Harlem, but soon spread throughout the whole country. In this period of rebirth, Jackie Robinson was growing up learning that anything could be possible with the right mind set. With this, he trained for the sport he came to love, baseball. Jackie developed a natural skill for baseball and continued pursuing it as a career. He followed his dream of becoming an all-star player for the Major League Baseball committee; however, there was one problem standing in the way, his skin color. Never before had a person of color play in a Major League team, but that didn’t stop Jackie from fighting. Throughout history the sport of baseball had been segregated, separating all whites and blacks. From the water fountains to the sitting area, no man of different race was allowed to touch the same thing. This moment of history all changed on April 15, 1947 when Jackie Robinson stepped out onto Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, NY to play first base for the Dodgers. With much criticism from the crowd, opposing team, and same team, Jackie Robinson was determined to prove that he was more than just the color of his skin. “I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being” –Jackie Robinson. Jackie R. believed that the future ahead of him would have no need for segregation or racism, that the community would come together as a whole and thrive. These are the ideologies that the Harlem Renaissance presented to the country proving that the color of someone’s skin has nothing to do with their natural born talents or intelligence. “I am particularly conscious of my connection to the poets of the Harlem Renaissance because I, too, am a Black poet, born into, and shaped by, the very community in which those poets of the past produced so much of the work we associate with the Harlem Renaissance. We speak from the same place, both literally and metaphorically” –Nikki Grimes, an African American Author for children and Poet. The Harlem Renaissance had such a large and positive impact on the African American community and created hopes and dreams to aspire for artists to be judged by their art, not the color of their skin. With the cultural, artistic, and athletic changes, assisted by Jackie Robinson’s bravery and commitment to achieve greatness, the African American culture has thrived in this country developing and creating iconic moments in history that will be remembered for centuries such as the motivating story of Jackie Robinson never giving up on his dream.

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