There was a time—not too long ago—when black players were not allowed to play on "white" teams. The Brooklyn Dodgers were the first integrated team and Jackie Robinson was their first black player. Although the first games were controversial, soon spectators in the "white" sections stood up and cheered for the black players, destabilizing what has since become known as "Jim Crow Baseball."

In this video by filmmaker David Becker and Craig Hymson, Lester Rodney, sportswriter for New York’s Daily Worker for over twenty years and activist against baseball’s color barrier, describes how Jackie Robinson changed baseball—and America. For more on sports and society, read this week’s special sports issue of The Nation.

Video Copyright Cabin Creek Films

—Anna Lekas Miller