Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Melinda Lawson




robinson’s, civil, rights, thesis, robinson


This thesis examines Jackie Robinson’s contribution to and involvement in the civil rights realm. Due to his affiliation and collaboration with influential white men, Robinson has been accused of being an Uncle Tom and criticized for his opposition of Malcolm X and Black Power. In addition, the works of various scholars and historians seem to overlook Robinson’s work as a civil rights and political activist in their literature. Thus, to determine how Robinson is underappreciated this thesis draws on a myriad of secondary material along with relevant primary sources such as Robinson’s autobiography, several civil rights letters to and from Robinson, and various newspaper articles from The New York Times and The Chicago Defender. First, the thesis examines the roots of Robinson’s civil rights activism. It explores his early life experiences with racial prejudice up until 1946 when he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers and broke baseball’s color barrier. With a focus on race consciousness, the thesis then scrutinizes Robinson’s major league career and the effects that his remarkable accomplishment had on American society. The main focus of the thesis is on Robinson’s prestigious post-baseball career—the heart and soul of his civil rights and political activism. It explores Robinson’s commitment and contribution to the civil rights movement, which includes his involvement with a myriad of organizations and political demonstrations. Lastly, the thesis refutes the allegations made against Robinson and furtherdefends his dedication to the struggle, thus recognizing how and why Robinson’s work was and is significant, if underappreciated.