Baseball, Race Relations and Jackie Robinson by Arnold Pulda, located at the Library of Congress site

This resource provides a lesson on primary sources. It includes student materials to analyze primary sources regarding Jackie Robinson as well as teacher materials to teach primary sources. This resource provides everything needed to teach the lesson, from instructional strategies to student handouts to needed hyperlinked resources found within the Library of Congress. Students will need access to Internet for this lesson, but the quality of sources at this site is superb. Multiple lessons regarding primary sources exist at the Teacher Materials section of the Library of Congress website.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CLE 3002.4.2
Gather relevant information from a variety of print and electronic sources, as well as from direct observation, interviews, and surveys.
CLE 3002.4.3
Make distinctions about the credibility, reliability, consistency, strengths, and limitations of resources, including information gathered from websites.
CLE 3002.4.4
Write an extended research paper, using primary and secondary sources and technology and graphics, as appropriate.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
Learning objectives: 

Students will:

  • Analyze primary documents closely.
  • Research documents specific to the history of race relations in the mid-20th century United States.
  • Draw conclusions moving from the specific documents to the broader society and test them for validity.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 

Use the following topics for additional student research and reporting:

  • While serving in the Army during 1942, Jackie Robinson caused an incident when he refused to move to the back of a bus. Ask students to link the event to other protests, similar or dissimilar, individual or collective, black or white, and draw conclusions as to their effectiveness.
  • Branch Rickey's strategy in breaking the color line in baseball his been widely judged a success. To what extent is that judgment due to the fact that Robinson proved to be a marvelous ballplayer? What might have happened had Robinson performed poorly on the field?
  • After his retirement from baseball, Robinson expressed his disillusionment with certain matters. What was the cause of his disillusionment? Did he have good reason to be disappointed?

Helpful Hints

This lesson is intended to be part of a larger unit of study. Teachers may use traditional assessment tools to measure students' understanding of this unit with a test after the unit's completion. Teachers may also require a demonstration of students' findings, such as a thematic presentation or slide show using tools available to them in the school computer lab or at home.