Jackie Robinson and Dixie Walker: Myths of the Southern Baseball Player

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Jackie Robinson and Dixie Walker: Myths of the Southern Baseball Player

by Larry Powell
Southern Cultures, Vol. 8, No. 2: Summer 2002

"'Jackie took a lot of abuse, but there was no violence. Even if you count hard slides with raised spikes, that was nothing compared to what happened in the 1950s and '60s during the Civil Rights movement.'"

The year of 1947 was arguably the most pivotal in the history of major league baseball. Baseball historian William Marshall referred to it as the “season of fury,” while Red Barber called it the “year all hell broke loose in baseball.” What made that year so important was one player—Jackie Robinson. Prior to his ground-breaking season, black baseball players were barred from the major leagues, limited to playing only against other blacks in front of primarily black fans. That started to change once Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey added Robinson to the major league roster. Although Rickey’s “great experiment” sparked protests from other players, it also paved the way for the integration of baseball and other sports.

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