"Next time I go to a movie and see a picture of a little ordinary girl become a great star, I'll believe it. And whenever I hear my wife read fairy tales to my little boy, I'll listen. I know now that dreams do come true."
-Jackie Robinson, a few days after he was signed on by the Brooklyn Dodgers, 1947
Jackie Robinson's life was far from perfect, before or after he became the first black man to play for professional baseball. I can only take so much of his biography* at one time because it's hard to read about all of the humiliations he faced due to Jim Crow laws and the racism that was prevalent all over America at the time.
However, as in any good fairy tale, the darkness only makes the light at the end more satisfying. Only when you get a little glimpse of what life was like for many African Americans for hundreds of years do you realize how pivotal it was when Robinson was finally recognized for his athletic abilities. Only then do you realize how heroic he was for never losing his temper in the face of hostility, or how noble was Branch Rickey, the Dodgers manager who risked his career and reputation to sign on the black player and personally mentor him through what he knew would be a long road facing much opposition. Jackie Robinson represented hope for his fellow African Americans who saw a glimpse into a future where there might be equality, which is still in progress...
*I'm reading the biography by Arnold Rampersad. I would recommend it if you're looking for something very thorough-it's pretty long