Are you participating in National History Day this year? The 2019-2020 theme is Breaking Barriers in History and many 6th – 12th graders all over the country will choose Jackie Robinson as their project focus. However, in order to do a successful National History Day project, it’s crucial to complete thorough research to explore all facets of your subject matter, and Jackie Robinson is no exception! Robinson’s complex life and legacy connect deeply to the fabric of American society, and not only through his career as the baseball player who integrated the modern-day major leagues. We continue to honor his impact on contemporary society in the areas of entrepreneurship and economic justice, fair housing, quality education, voting rights, equitable job opportunities and salaries, and more—all in the spirit of “first class citizenship” for all Americans.
Hundreds of primary and secondary sources have been created about Jackie Robinson. For an overview of Jackie’s life, download a copy of the free resource guide created by the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which includes a bibliography for further research (books and video).
Here are additional books that you may wish to use for your research:
- Brunson, James E. Black Baseball, 1858-1900, Volumes 1-3. McFarland, 2019.
- Cottrell, Robert C. Two Pioneers: How Hank Greenberg and Jackie Robinson Transformed Baseball and America. Dulles, Virginia: Potomac Books, 2012.
- Fussman, Cal. After Jackie: Pride, Prejudice, and Baseball’s Forgotten Heroes. New York: ESPN Books, 2007.
- Grossinger, Tania. Jackie and Me: A Very Special Friendship. New York: Sky Pony Press, 2013.
- Kashatus, William C. Jackie and Campy: The Untold Story of their Rocky Relationship and the Breaking of Baseball’s Color Line. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2014.
- Long, Michael G. Beyond Home Plate: Jackie Robinson on Life After Baseball. Syracuse, New York, Syracuse University Press, 2013.
- Robinson, Sharon. Child of the Dream. New York: Scholastic Press, 2019.
- Ruck, Rob. Raceball: How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game. Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press, 2011.
- Simon, Scott. Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball. Danvers, Massachusetts: John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2002.
- Tygiel, Jules. Extra Bases: Reflections on Jackie Robinson, Race, and Baseball History. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002.
There’s also additional video of Jackie and Rachel Robinson that you may wish to explore on the following sites:
Jackie Robinson delivers speech at local church in Birmingham, Alabama, 1962.
First Class Citizenship: The Civil Rights Legacy of Jackie Robinson, regarding 1972 World Series speech
PBS Newshour A conversation with Dusty Baker about JR’s impact on and off the field
Letter from Jackie read aloud with current black athletes commenting
If you have questions about completing a National History Day project or participating in the competition, please visit nhd.org. If you live in New York City and want to learn how to enter the New York City History Day competition, visit mcny.org/historyday.
On Wednesday, December 4 and Saturday, December 7, twenty-five educators and school administrators from across New York City and New Jersey joined us for the Jackie Robinson Museum’s inaugural educator focus groups. This group of teachers got a first look at the latest plans for the museum and a preview of our single and multi-session leadership field trip for grades 2-12. They participated in an adapted version of one of the activities planned for the field trip in which they explored sources representing multiple facets of Jackie’s life, including his quotes, photographs, letters, magazine covers, sports memorabilia, and one-of-a-kind artifacts from the museum’s collection to analyze and interpret Jackie’s words. Each participant developed posters to showcase the historic significance and contemporary relevance of Jackie’s thoughts and actions and, taken together, the posters form a mini-museum inspired by Jackie’s quotes. Following the activity, teachers reflected on how their own students would react to a similar activity and we heard valuable feedback about pre- and post-visit materials, activity structure, vocabulary, logistics, and overall importance of connecting Jackie’s story to the issues that are pressing for students today.
Click here to see photographs of our inaugural focus group participants and be sure to join our email list to find out about future sessions.
Click here to download the Students and Family Resource Guide.