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Suggested Answers to Discussion Questions for

1.  [Standard Questions Suitable for Any Film]. [No suggested Answers.]

2.  Why did it take so long for black baseball players to be accepted in the major leagues? Suggested Response: The strong racism in the U.S. at the time prevented integration of black players into the major leagues.

3.  What was Jackie Robinson's unique contribution to the United States? After all, Joe Louis, the boxing heavyweight champion, had shown that blacks could win against whites. Suggested Response: A good answer will discuss at least one of the following: Jackie Robinson not only showed that blacks could compete against whites, he showed that they could compete with whites, together on the same team. In addition, by answering the epithets and trash hurled at him with dignity and kindness, he showed how mean-spirited and disgusting racism was.

Social-Emotional Learning


1.  What did Jackie Robinson achieve in his life, other than breaking Major League Baseball's color bar, that justifies holding him up as a male role model? Suggested Response: The answer should touch on Robinson's role of objecting to discrimination in the military and, after he retired from baseball, his career as a businessman and supporter of civil rights.

2.  The Brooklyn Dodgers had an economic and competitive incentive to break the color bar in National League baseball. What was it? Suggested Response: The Yankees were beating just about everyone. The best available pool of untapped talent was in the Negro Leagues. It was common knowledge that some of the players in the Negro Leagues were better than most whites who played in the major leagues.

3.  How did Branch Rickey motivate Robinson, a very competitive man who stood up for his rights, to turn the other cheek against all of the racist insults and assaults that he had to endure? Suggested Response: When Jackson asked Branch Rickey if he wanted a player who didn't have the guts to fight back. Rickey replied, "Jackie, how about a ballplayer with the guts not to fight back?" He threw down the gauntlet to Robinson and made it a point of pride not to fight back.

Discussion Questions Relating to Ethical Issues will facilitate the use of this film to teach ethical principles and critical viewing. Additional questions are set out below.


(Be honest; Don't deceive, cheat or steal; Be reliable -- do what you say you'll do; Have the courage to do the right thing; Build a good reputation; Be loyal -- stand by your family, friends and country)

1.  If you were asked to be the first black person to integrate the major leagues, or the first black child to integrate a school, would you do it, or would you let someone else go first? Explain why. Suggested Response: There is no one right answer. A good negative response would come up with some very compelling reasons.


(Do what you are supposed to do; Persevere: keep on trying!; Always do your best; Use self-control; Be self-disciplined; Think before you act -- consider the consequences; Be accountable for your choices)

2.  How did Jackie Robinson react during the early years of his major league career when racists taunted him? Suggested Response: He turned the other cheek. His manager, Branch Rickey, asked that he be "man enough not to fight back."

3.  Jackie Robinson broke into the major leagues at age 28. There were many years in which his play was major league quality but the "color line" prevented him from playing in the major leagues. What element of the Responsibility Pillar of Character did he demonstrate in those years? Suggested Response: He kept working hard even though opportunity was denied to him. He persevered and always did his best.


(Do your share to make your school and community better; Cooperate; Stay informed; vote; Be a good neighbor; Obey laws and rules; Respect authority; Protect the environment)

4.  How did Jackie Robinson help his country? Suggested Response: There many ways to phrase a correct answer to this question, from simply saying that he broke the color bar to not fighting back. A good answer would include a reference to his activities as a businessman and a civil rights activist.

(For additional questions, see the "Trustworthiness" category above.)

Last updated May 21, 2008.

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