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Jackie Robinson - Football at UCLA

Jackie Robinson - Football at UCLA Visual Arts Famous Historical Events Famous People Social Studies Sports

Jim Crow laws and policies impacted nearly every aspect of a black person's life while segregation was legally in-place in the U.S.  Those practices extended to colleges and universities.

In the 1930s, UCLA began to change: 

...UCLA reached out to black athletes when other universities turned their backs on them.  "UCLA was the first school to really give the Negro athlete a break," according to Ray Bartlett, who also enrolled in 1939.  "In the 1930s, the minority population was all pro-UCLA."

Jack Robinson decided to try-out for Bruins' football.  The school already had two African-Americans on the team:  Kenny Washington (a halfback) and Woody Strode (a receiver). 

When Jack made the team, press reporters began to refer to him and the two other stars as the "Gold Dust Trio."  They also started to call him "Jackie."

After helping his team to defeat the University of Washington by returning a 65-yard punt to the 5-yard line, Jack also made his mark in football.  Ray Rampersad, in his biography about Robinson, quotes UCLA's school newspaper's words about Jackie's efforts:

According to the Bruin, the Washington players "were unanimous in their statements that Robinson is the greatest thing they have ever seen.  He twisted, squirmed, refused to be stopped." 

The Washington fans, too, showed their admiration, and their own class.  When Robinson, battered and bruised, limped from the field at the start of the fourth quarter, "the fans rose as a man and gave him a greater ovation than any Washington man received that day."  (Quoted passages from Jackie Robinson:  A Biography, by Ray Rampersad, at page 67.)

 


Media Credits

Photo of Jack Robinson as a UCLA football star, online courtesy Robinson Foundation via Earlham College.

 

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"Jackie Robinson - Football at UCLA" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Dec 13, 2017.
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