Written By: Barry P. Foley
Copyright © 25 Oct 2022
During World War Two, LT Robinson was drafted into the segregated Army as an enlisted man, although he had all the qualification for a commission. He had to fight his way into Officer Candidate School, and with some help from the great boxer Joe Louis, he got his commission in 1943.
In July 1944, LT Robinson assigned to Camp Hood, Texas and one day after visiting the colored officers club and upon leaving he boarded an Army shuttle bus from the club. As he entered the bus he noticed one of his fellow officer’s wife and he sat down beside her. The lady was very fair skinned and to many people, she looks to be white. It is evident the driver seemed to resent him talking to her and told the LT Robinson to move to the rear of the bus. The driver didn’t ask the lady to move so LT Robinson refused. He knew that the Army had desegregated their bus line and he took a stand.
At the end of the line, the driver had the MP’s take LT Robinson into custody. The racist leadership recommended that LT Robinson be court-martialed. That is a very serious action for such a minor event especially an Army Officer. When LT Robinson’s unit commander refused to authorize any legal action, LT Robinson was quickly transferred to another unit, where that commander consented to charge Robinson with multiple offices, to include being drunk in public, although LT Robinson did not drink.
He was acquitted at his court-martial by a 9 man all white officer jury. His unit had already deployed to an overseas area, and Army chose not to send him to rejoin his unit, and discharged him during the war in November 1944 rather than live with egg on their face.
After his discharge, LT Robinson did pretty well for himself. You know him better as number 42, the man who broke the color barrier in professional baseball!
Bravo Jackie Robinson!
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