February 2013


Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America

By: Sharon Robinson

This book portrays a warm, intimate portrait of Jackie Robinson, the man who broke the color barrier in baseball, told from a unique perspective: his only daughter. With family photos and mementos, reproduced newspaper headlines, magazines and letters, Sharon Robinson illustrates her dad's story from childhood to that historic moment in baseball, including his role as a civil rights activist. Robinson provides intimate details about her father and shares how the legendary baseball player became such a profound figure in American History.


  1. The path paved by African Americans in Tennessee is commemorated in many museums, monuments, and landmarks throughout the state. This month, you and your family can visit the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville to view a special exhibit featuring the original Emancipation Proclamation and the original copy of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery. If you are unable to visit the State Museum in Nashville, you can learn more about African American Heritage and Tennessee's civil rights leaders by visiting and of these sites located throughout the state.

  2. In the book Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America, the author writes that Branch Rickey, president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, reporters and scouts all agreed that Robinson was the right man to pioneer the racial integration of Major League Baseball. What qualities made Robinson the "right man" for the job? How did Branch Rickey determine that he could stand the pressure?

  3. Jackie Robinson's leadership in the Civil Rights Movement helped to change America for the better. The author mentions that young people can be leaders by making "a promise to yourself, your family, and your community to be the best that you can be." Discuss with your family ways that you can be your best. How can you be a leader in your family, school, or community?

  4. Jackie Robinson is one of many important leaders who contributed to the American Civil Rights Movement. When you finish reading Sharon Robinson's Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America, you can visit your local library to read books about other influential civil rights leaders.