Jackie Robinson (1919-1972) broke the Major League Baseball color barrier in 1947. This very public step in integration contributed to the increasing awareness of the Civil Rights battles that challenged American norms during the 20th century. After serving in the Army during World War II and playing baseball in the Negro leagues, Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization to initiate integration in this high profile professional sport. He endured racial insults, slurs, and threatened boycotts during those first years but he played spectacularly. He earned Rookie of the Year in 1947 and was selected to six National League All-Star teams during his career. He was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962-the first African American to be so honored.
This stamp is part of the Black Heritage Stamp Series. Initiated in 1978, the USPS continues to issue a stamp featuring a notable Black American every February in conjunction with Black History Month and at other times during the year.