Birthplace of Jackie Robinson - Cairo, Georgia
Birthplace of Jackie Robinson - Cairo, Georgia
|Birthplace of Jackie Robinson
Professional baseball great Jackie Robinson was
born in a sharecropper house on this site in 1919.
He grew up to become a major hero.
Jackie Robinson Birthplace
A brick chimney is all that remains
of the frame house where Jackie
Robinson was born in 1919. It is
south of Cairo in Grady County,
The sports hero who broke
professional baseball's color
barrier played as Number 42 for
the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Library of Congress
BIRTHPLACE OF JACKIE ROBINSON
Grady County, Georgia
The Birthplace of Number 42
|Copyright 2013 & 2015 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Last Updated: April 15, 2015
A marker has been placed at the
site by the Georgia Historical
Society and the Jackie Robinson
Cairo Memorial Institute, Inc.
Birthplace of Number 42
From his humble beginnings here
near Cairo, Georgia, the famed
baseball hero went on to make
An old brick chimney on Hadley Ferry Road
south of Cairo marks the Georgia birthplace
of baseball legend and Civil Rights hero
Located in rural Grady County, the chimney is
all that remains of the sharecropper's home
where Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson
was born in 1919. He lived here with his
mother, Mallie, and his four siblings.
It was a humble beginning for a man who
achieved a landmark breakthrough that
forever changed American history.
Robinson's mother and other impoverished
citizens of the neighborhood worked as
sharecroppers, laboring in the fields for a
share of the profits of the crops. It was a
system introduced in Georgia and the South
after the Civil War by the Bureau of
Freedmen, Refugees and Abandoned Land.
The Freedman's Bureau, as it was better
known, was a U.S. government agency
created to help former slaves and their
families make the transition from enslaved
laborers to American citizens. Sharecropping
was introduced by the Bureau as a way of
getting farms back into production during the
years after the Civil War, when the Southern
economy had collapsed and landowners had
It was a system that lasted for more than 100
years after the end of the war. The families
that worked as sharecroppers often lived in
deplorable conditions and as a general rule
they were impoverished and often hungry.
Despite such a beginning, however, Jackie
Robinson dreamed greater dreams. Shortly
before World War II, he enrolled at UCLA,
where he studied and played four sports. An
impressive athlete, he was named an All
American in football in 1941 an became the
first African American to letter in football,
baseball, basketball and track at UCLA.
Financial difficulties forced Robinson to leave
UCLA after two years and he enlisted in the
U.S. Army. He became a second lieutenant
before facing a court martial for objecting to
incidents of racial discrimination in the
military. His army career ended with an
When World War II ended in 1945,
professional baseball in the United States
was segregated. It had not always been that
way. In fact, in the years after the Civil War
both whites and blacks played together on
professional baseball teams. But things
changed in 1889 when professional
baseball became a segregated sport.
Although he was one of the best athletes
ever to play at UCLA, Robinson could not play
in the major leagues when he finished his
duty in the military. Instead, he joined the
Kansas City Monarchs of the old Negro
League and played for one year.
The Monarchs were the longest-lived of the
teams of the Negro National League. The
noted Hall of Famer Satchel Paige was a
pitcher with the Monarchs when Jackie
Robinson arrived to play shortstop. Both men
went on to break the major league color
barrier within three years of Robinson's
arrival in Kansas City.
Robinson's talent could not be denied,
although many thought that Satchel Paige
and Josh Gibson were better players. It was
Jackie Robinson, however, who attracted the
attention of Brooklyn Dodgers' club president
and general manager Branch Rickey.
By the end of 1945. Rickey offered Robinson
a chance to break professional baseball's
color barrier. Jackie Robinson was selected
in part because Rickey knew that there would
be fierce opposition to presence on baseball
fields. Robinson, he believed, had the
strength of character not to remain above the
fray and not fight back against those who
might seek to draw him into a confrontation.
Robinson played first for the Class AAA
Montreal Royals. After playing spring games
in Florida, he made his professional debut
when the Royals played the Jersey City
Giants on April 18, 1946. For the first time in
more than 50 years, professional baseball's
color barrier had been broken.
The following year, the Brooklyn Dodgers
brought Jackie Robinson up to the big
leagues. He made his major league debut at
Ebbets Field on April 15, 1947, scoring one
run off a walk to help lead the Dodgers to a
Robinson initially faced opposition from
some players on other teams and some
fans, but he maintained his dignity and by the
end of his first season, everyone knew that
professional baseball had been opened to
players of all colors. His life is the focus of
the movie, "42." (See the top right of this
page for a video preview.)
The Jackie Robinson birthplace is located on
Hadley Ferry Road approximately 11.5 miles
south of downtown Cairo, Georgia and about
22 miles north of Tallahassee, Florida. It is
free to visit.
Please click here to learn more about Cairo
and Grady County, Georgia.