CHARLES COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Jackie Robinson broke racial barriers on and off the baseball diamond. In 1947, he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first black Major League Baseball player.

Jessica Kartalija reports the legacy of the Hall of Famer lives on.

Seventh-grader Hunter Youngblood is a student at Piccowaxen Middle School in Charles County. In a national essay contest entitled “Breaking Barriers in Sports, In Life,” in Robinson’s memory, Youngblood wrote of his own struggle with a learning disability that affects his memory.

“I had to study a lot more than other kids to get the stuff or get the information, like a test for example,” Youngblood said. “This breaks an important barrier by those affected by learning disabilities.”

Jackie Robinson’s daughter, Sharon, is an educational programming consultant with Major League Baseball.

“It helps kids use personal expression, their writing skills. It’s a national essay contest so they get national recognition,” Robinson said.

Youngblood’s teacher, Leslie Johns, calls him an inspiration to his peers.

“So many students have personal barriers they try and overcome on a daily basis. This gives them an opportunity to express themselves, to write it down,” Johns said.

Jackie Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962 and died 10 years later.

Robinson says teaching children to overcome challenges spreads her father’s legacy.

“It’s so important for kids to understand the strength of character it took for him to break the color barrier,” Robinson said.

Youngblood received a new computer and will be recognized on the field at Camden Yards before Tuesday’s Orioles/Yankees game.


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