Robinson was raised in relative poverty by a single mother. Inspired by his brother Jackie Robinson decide to pursue athletics. Jackie continued his education at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he became the university's first student to win varsity letters in four sports. In 1941, despite his athletic success, Robinson was forced to leave UCLA just shy of graduation due to financial hardship. He would later serve as second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.
After his discharge from the Army in 1944, Robinson began to play baseball professionally. At the time, the sport was segregated, and African-Americans and whites played in separate leagues. Robinson also became a vocal champion for African-American athletes, civil rights, and other social and political causes.
Jackie Robinson became the first black player in the major leagues in 1947, signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Throughout his decade-long career with the Dodgers, Robinson made advancements in the cause of civil rights for black athletes. In 1955, he helped the Dodgers win the World Series. He retired in 1957 with a career batting average of .311. Robinson died in Connecticut in 1972.