Speak Out icon

How will you speak out?

Jackie Robinson used his platform to speak out about unfair treatment and practices across the country. He gave speeches, wrote letters, and joined in marches to bring attention to injustices. Here’s your chance to make your voice heard about issues that are important to you.

Jump to Activity

Make a Poster     Make a Button     Write a Song or Poem  

Context

Jackie believed in first class citizenship for all. That meant equal access to basic things in life, such as a good education, a good paying job, safe housing and the voting poll. During Jackie’s life, these opportunities were not available to everyone, especially African Americans. Jackie used his fame as a professional athlete to fight for civil rights for all Americans. He wrote letters to everyone, from baseball fans to United States’ presidents, encouraging them to be fair in their treatment of others. He wrote newspaper articles in the NY Post and New York Amsterdam News, that were read nationally, in which he shared his opinion on many topics. He wrote several books: an autobiography, a Little League handbook, and a group of stories he heard from other new African American baseball players. No matter what he wrote, it focused on supporting people who were disadvantaged, mistreated or not given opportunities to which they had the rights to.

Listen to Jackie Robinson: American Hero. Chapters 8 and 9 are especially helpful when thinking about what made Jackie a powerful voice for equality and civil rights. While you listen, use our warm up activity in the Got Game? section as a guide.

Jackie believed deeply in the power of young people, like you, standing up for a cause and getting involved to make the world a better place. Now it’s your chance to be heard—create a poster, button or write something impactful—a song or poem. These are all positive ways to share how you are feeling about something going on in the world today that you would like to see changed.

 

Activity Section

Make your own poster

Instructions

Make your own poster:

  1. Think about an issue that is important to you and decide what you want to say about it. You might want to suggest a way to solve a problem, teach others about a topic, or get others to share your opinion (or all of the above).
  2. Think about where you will display your poster and who will see it. For example, it could be for your home, your neighborhood, or your school.
  3. Write down words or phrases to help share your message with that group of people.
  4. Print our poster template or get a blank piece of paper.
  5. Design your poster. You can use words, drawings, pictures, stickers, or other materials to share your idea and grab people’s attention.
  6. Speak out by displaying your poster! You can hang it or attach it to a rod to march with it.
  7. Show off your poster as part of Jackie Robinson Day! Have an adult help you make a video of you with your poster. Share it on social media using #JackieRobinsonDay, #Jackie42, #JRFoundation or #JRDayatHome and you may see it on our Instagram page!

Inspiration & Examples

Before you get started, take a look at our inspiration to help you make a great project! Some of these resources are from the Jackie Robinson Museum’s archival collection while others are from the web. What will you create?

Credits: (From left to right)

  1. NAACP “Time to Score for Civil Rights” Jackie Robinson Advertisement, 1957
    Jackie Robinson Museum Collection
  2. Jackie Robinson, 2008
    Kadir Nelson, Acrylic on canvas Jackie Robinson Museum Collection
  3. Jackie Robinson at a NAACP rally in Wisconsin to support Southern Negro students, 1955
    Afro American Newspapers, Gado, Getty Images
  4. Jackie Robinson Bond Bread advertisement, 1947
    Stephen Wong Collection

Activity Section

Make your own button

Instructions

Make your own button:

  1. Think about an issue that is important to you or something (or someone) you want to show support for.
  2. Print our button template or draw a circle on a paper and cut it out. Tip: to make your own, trace the rim of a coffee mug or cup to make a perfect circle.
  3. Create a short slogan to share your ideas about this topic. A slogan is a short, memorable phrase or a motto.
  4. Decorate your button. Be creative by drawing or cutting out pictures.
  5. Create your button using your images and your slogan. Use markers, crayons, or colored pencils to help your work stand out and grab attention. Attach any loose items with tape or glue.
  6. Use a safety pin to pin the button to your shirt and wear it proudly! You can also use a piece of tape.
  7. Show off your button as part of Jackie Robinson Day! Have an adult help you make a video of you wearing and explaining your button. Share it on social media using #JackieRobinsonDay, #Jackie42, #JRFoundation or #JRDayatHome and you may see it on our Instagram page!

Inspiration & Examples

Before you get started, take a look at our inspiration to help you make a great project! Some of these resources are from the Jackie Robinson Museum’s archival collection while others are from the web. What will you create?

Credits: (From left to right)

  1. “Yes I Can” Jackie Robinson pin-back button, ca. 2014
    Jackie Robinson Museum Collection
  2. “Making It Home” Jackie Robinson pin-back button, ca. 2014
    Jackie Robinson Museum Collection
  3. “Jackie Robinson Outstanding Rookie” pin-back button, 1947
    Jackie Robinson Museum Collection
  4. “I’m For Jackie” Jackie Robinson pin-back button, 1947
    Jackie Robinson Museum Collection
  5. “Rookie of the Year” Jackie Robinson pin-back button, 1947
    Jackie Robinson Museum Collection

Activity Section

Write your song or poem

Instructions

Songs and poems often tell a story and share information. Songs involve some type of music and often have a chorus, a part of the song that is repeated. A poem does not usually include music. Before you get started, listen to the song “Did you see Jackie Robinson Hit that Ball?” and read the poem “Jackie Boy,” located just below these instructions. What stories are being told? Why do you think the songwriter and the poet chose Jackie to write about? Who and what will your song or poem be about?

Write your song or poem:

  1. Decide if you will write a song (add your own music) or a poem (no music).
  2. Think of someone you admire. It could be yourself, a family member, a friend, someone from your neighborhood, or you could choose Jackie Robinson!
  3. Think of the qualities of that person that make you feel that the person deserves to have a song or poem written about them. These qualities might include kindness, hardworking, generous, well organized, funny, friendly, talented, athletic, etc.
  4. Make a list of the qualities and how the person used the qualities to change something that is wrong or accomplish a goal. Include what the person did to try to change what was happening.
  5. Write sentences using your key words. You can print our template to write your song or poem.
  6. If you are writing a song:
    • Try to make the last word of every sentence or line, or every other sentence, rhyme.
    • Choose what style of music you’d like your song to be (jazz, pop, rap, your own style, etc.)
    • Use kitchen items such as a pot or pan to add a drum beat or fill a container half-way with dry beans, rice or small pasta, cover it, and use it as a shaker.
    • You can also use your body as an instrument—clap your hands, slap your thighs and stomp your feet to get your beat going!
  7. Ask an adult to make a video of you singing your song or reading your poem, or take a picture of the lyrics, and post it on social media to join the Jackie Robinson Day 2020 online celebration using #JackieRobinsonDay, #Jackie42, #JRFoundation or #JRDayatHome and you may see it on our Instagram page!

Inspiration & Examples

Before you get started, take a look at our inspiration to help you make a great project! Some of these resources are from the Jackie Robinson Museum’s archival collection while others are from the web. What will you create?

Credits: (From left to right)

  1. Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball? (1949–Version)
    Cyguns Music Ltd. with special thanks to the Estate of Count Basie and Primary Wave
  2. Jackie Boy poem
    Jesse (Buddy) Winley, 1947
    Jackie Robinson Museum Collection
  3. Take Me Out to the Ball Game song lyrics
    Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer, 1908
  4. The Baseball Kids song lyrics
    Tom Paxton, 1992
bat and ball icon

Put me in, coach

Jackie Robinson believed in the power of young people to make positive change. This starts with being thoughtful about the things that are important to you and those you care about. These activities are designed to help you think about those things, while you also learn about the things that mattered to Jackie Robinson.