As the pioneer and historical face of desegregation in sports, Jackie Robinson experienced taunts and death threats at every point of his Major League career as the first black player admitted to the league.

His bravery and persistence in the name of equal rights have been well-documented and honored not just in baseball history, but in the larger context of the struggle to end the disparate treatment of black citizens endemic to American institutions.

But Robinson’s success, in no slight to his considerable achievement, came as the result of the road paved by many less-celebrated predecessors, who, through their careers in the Negro Leagues, brought a resolve and speed to the game unmatched by their Major League counterparts.

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The Cubs' first trip to the World Series in 71 years includes a bit of unexpected history.

Dexter Fowler to be the first black man to play a World Series game as a member of the Cubs.

The Chicago Cubs will face off against Cleveland on Tuesday, Oct.  25, 2016, and in doing so are set to make history in a way that sports fans and casual observers alike can appreciate.

It's been a long time since the Chicago Cubs made it to the World Series — 71 years, to be exact. For that reason alone, the team's 2016 season is one for the history books. The Cubs defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 to advance to their first World Series since the 1945 season.

But there's another reason to celebrate their victory, one that has to do with just how much has changed in the past 71 years.

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