Jackie Robinson's Brave Actions

3, 4, 5

Jackie Robinson is a baseball player whose perseverance and strength changed racist attitudes and laws. Participants reflect on Mr. Robinson's actions and make connections to personal actions and to the people they admire today. 

PrintOne 45-Minute Session

Explain how a person's actions for the common good can make a significant difference in the lives of many others.

  • copy of The Children's Book of Heroes by William J. Bennett
  • copies of handout: Jackie Robinson Quiz (Spanish version available)
  • Bennett, William J. The Children's Book of Heroes. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997. ISBN: 0684834456
  • Biography: Jackie Robinson http://www.biography.com/people/jackie-robinson-9460813 


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Discover what the group already knows about Jackie Robinson with the quiz (handout). After each person completes it, go over the answers together and talk about his life and impact as a black baseball player. One option is to read the chapter from The Children's Book of Heroes is about Jackie Robinson. 

  2. Discuss the challenges Robinson faced and how he responded to the challenges. Define a hero as a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. Ask, "In what ways is Jackie Robinson a hero?" 

  3. Discuss the following
    • How did he affect the future of baseball?
    • What attitudes about Black people did he change through his strength and perserance?
    • What examples of respect and disrespect do you observe in his story?
    • What actions were examples of Mr. Robinson acting for the common good?
    • Is acting for the common good always easy? Always popular? What are the benefits?
  4. There are still challenges today related to people treating others with disrespect because of their race, gender, beliefs, practices, and ability. With Jackie Robinson as a model of a hero taking brave action for the good of all, discuss what actions we can each take to treat others with respect? 

  5. Working together, plan and create a display or social media post that shares information about the lessons learned from Jackie Robinson that relate to inequities today. The information and reflections may be through art, poems, essays, and images. The overall theme may be that we each have the power to make a difference for the common good with our actions and words. 

    Variation: Design a postage stamp series that expresses the heroic traits of Jackie Robinson and encourages others to act personally for the good of all. 

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
      2. Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.5 Identify one local citizen who has helped the community through giving and/or service.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss the importance of respect for others.
    3. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.10 Give an example of an action by an individual or a private organization that has helped to enhance a fundamental democratic principle.