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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