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The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s

[Detail] Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese

The photographs, interviews, game programs, and other materials in Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s, provide several opportunities to make investigations into the social and economic influences on baseball. Investigations center around unique items such as a 1954 program from a Negro League game and a transcript from Robinson's appearance on NBC's news program Meet the Press. Other materials provide an opportunity to explore Robinson's contribution to promoting civil rights and to question the fairness of baseball’s reserve clause.

Chronological Thinking

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson, Brooklyn, N.Y., 1954.

This collection's timeline provides a history of the events in baseball that led to integration. Jackie Robinson’s accomplishments can also be placed in a larger social and chronological context by reviewing other American Memory collections. The African-American Odyssey chronicles the call for equality throughout American history with the Special Presentation, "African American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship." One section of this presentation, "The Depression, The New Deal, and World War II," features the social and athletic achievements of African-American athletes such as tennis star Althea Gibson and track legend Jesse Owens in a portion entitled "Breaking Barriers in Sports."

  • What do you think were the most significant events in the history of baseball?
  • What events established segregation in baseball and created the color line?
  • What challenges did athletes such as Gibson, Owens, and Robinson face in their respective sports?
  • How did these athletes' accomplishments relate to the progress of the civil rights movement?
  • How did Jackie Robinson’s predecessors pave the way for his arrival in Major League Baseball?