After School

Interview your Parents, Family, and Neighbors

Jackie Robinson quoteJack Roosevelt Robinson (1919-72), the first black man to "officially" play in the big leagues in the 20th century, possessed enormous physical talent and a fierce determination to succeed. In the course of a distinguished 10-year career beginning in 1947, Robinson led the Brooklyn Dodgers to six National League titles and one victorious World Series. Beyond his many and stellar baseball feats, Jackie Robinson went to champion the cause of civil rights when he retired from the game. For more about Robinson, check out the Edsitement approved website of the Jackie Robinson Foundation or the Library of Congress Learning Page about Robinson and Baseball. For further information about civil rights in America, see this Edsitement lesson plan about Ordinary People, Ordinary Places: The Civil Rights Movement.


  1. Talk to your parents (relatives and/or older neighbors) about what they remember or were told about Jackie Robinson? Do they remember when he was "allowed" to join the Major Leagues in baseball?
  2. How did they feel about this event? Was he a hero to them? Did they know that Jackie Robinson kept fighting for civil rights even after his sports career?
  3. letter to EisenhowerLook at the letter that Jackie Robinson sent to President Eisenhower. What was the date on it? Can your parents remember what Civil Rights were like at this time? Does the letter tell us anything about the U.S. at that time?
  4. Who were your parents' sports heroes when they were your age? Ask them to tell you why they were heroes. Was it only their athletic ability or their character or some other reasons?
  5. Discuss with your parents who your sports heroes are today. What do they mean to you? What do they mean to your parents?

Write down their answers and be prepared to talk with the class about what you found out.

If you would like to investigate more about heroes and heroism, there are a number of Edsitement lessons available that explore traditional notions of heroism and how they apply to contemporary contexts. In Portrait of a Hero, K-2 students explore their beliefs about heroes and heroism. Students in grades 3-5 identify heroes and the traits that make them heroic in What Makes a Hero. In Heroes around Us, students in grades 6-8 explore the difference between a hero and an idol. And in What Makes a Hero? from the EDSITEment partner-site ArtsEdge, 9-12 students are encouraged to create working definitions of heroes and present them creatively to their class.