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United States v Jackie Robinson by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen (Jackie Robinson)

by | Mar 26, 2022 | Biographies | 0 comments

Jackie Robinson Refused To Get Up For A White Man

Eleven years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for a white man on a bus, Jackie Robinson refused to give up his seat – and he was called before a court martial trial for it.

United States v Jackie Robinson by Sudipta Bardhen-Quallen details a story I had not heard in my baseball-loving upbringing. I, along with I’m quite sure most of the lovers of America’s past time know the story of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier and being the first African American to play in the major leagues in 1947.

But in 1944, just after the American military announced the desegretation of its buses, Jackie Robinson was told to give up his seat for a white man. Knowing his rights, he refused. Because they couldn’t arrest him for where he was sitting, because it was now legal, they decided to arrest him for insubordination because he refused an order from a higher ranking officer to move.

The book did not hold back from the events that happened – the author details how Jackie was met with an angry mob, how witnesses lied about him on the stands, and how eventually truth prevailed and he was found not guilty by secret vote of the jury.

 Themes 

 This book, like The First Step, tells a story I had never heard before about a case that happened earlier than the similar, more famous stories. As devastating as these narratives are, I think the more of them that are written about, the more it could help people understand how prevalent racism was and still is. 

The biggest thing was watching how the people twisted the story and what they tried to get him in trouble for, because what he did was perfectly legal. He wasn’t doing anything wrong. 

Conversations

 We don’t have cable, so my boys don’t really watch sports (though I would love to watch the Cardinals and Blues play more than I do). They aren’t familiar with Jackie Robinson, the famous baseball player. But now they are familiar with Jackie Robinson, the Army Lieutenant who stood up for himself, was cleared of charges, and went on to have a successful baseball career in New York.   

They understood segregation when we talked about how their friends with different skin tones wouldn’t have been allowed to play with them at the playground or swim in the same swimming pool back when this story took place. 

We talked about how our skin tone gives us a responsibility to fight for equality, and how to do that. How because of these institutional practices, some people still have wrong ideas about people who have different skin tones because they were raised in a time when that was “normal.” How the fight includes more than just treating your neighbor as an equal, but also includes voting for institutional change and not voting for racists or white supremacists and trusting them to make fair laws.  

Age Level

 This was a simple enough story for my preschooler to understand, but definitely appropriate for elementary school level. 

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  1. Children's Books About Diverse Baseball Players - The Radical Agenda - […] Read about his bravery and how he sat for his rights in The United States v Jackie Robinson […]

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