Sixty years ago tomorrow, Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier.
The Philadelphia Daily News has a nice piece on Robinson’s relationship with Brooklyn Dodgers’ president Branch Rickey. But the best treatment I’ve read of Robinson’s story is Baseball’s Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy by Jules Tygiel. Among its many strengths is Tygiel’s understanding that the integration of baseball was the culmination of a lengthy campaign that involved not just Robinson, Rickey and some now-legendary black sportswriters, but black players and fans in minor league cities throughout the country. He’s particularly good at illustrating the ways in which the struggle to integrate Major League Baseball served as a tactical trial run for the civil rights movement.