On February 14, 1949, Jackie Robinson spoke to the Sociology Society at City College in New York. It was 31 months after he became the first African American player in modern professional baseball and in the same year that he won the National League’s Most
Valuable Player Award. But what did he speak to the students about? Only a picture remains in The New York Times archives, but not any text about the event.
What can you learn from the picture?
- How were the students dressed? How was the class organized? What other visual clues are helpful in understanding the social context? How does this compare to your experience with college classes?
- What would you like to know about the social context in that year, and in New York City, to help you analyze the social context of the talk?