Category Archives: January
Born into poverty to a single mother in Georgia, Jackie Robinson knew early on the meaning of hardship. But he championed through it with his stellar athletic record, becoming the first student to get a varsity letter in four sports. He served during World War II, but was honorably discharged for his refusal to sit on a segregated bus. After playing for the Negro Leagues, he was recruited to the Brooklyn Dodgers by Branch Rickley, a Major League exec who wanted to integrate national baseball. He debuted with the Dodgers in April 1947 as the first African American in MLB. He faced major adversity in his early games, not only from fans but also from opposing players and even his own teammates. But his talent was too good to be ignored for petty intolerance. Robinson led his team to a World Series title, won Rookie of the Year, and later Most Valued Player. He became the highest-paid player in Dodgers history, and opened the MLB up to other black players like Satchel Paige, Willie Mayes, and Hank Aaron. Later, he used his notoriety for good, becoming an outspoken proponent of the Civil Rights Movement. He served on the board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and his foundation was established to help young students and athletes in need. He died in 1972 in Stamford, Connecticut.
Would you use your talents and skills as a platform, like Robinson did? How could you make a difference?
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January 31, 1958
During the Cold War, as America fought a bitter ideological battle against Communism, a new Space Age began to dawn. The world’s two super powers – America and the communist Soviet Union – both began to develop technologies that spawned what historians call the Space Race. The Soviet Union took the first lead when it launched Sputnik I, an artificial satellite that orbited the Earth. Not far behind was America’s satellite, Explorer 1. Built by Jet Propulsion Laboratories, Explorer 1 was 80 inches long and six in diameter, weighing in at just over 30 pounds. It was launched by a massive Jupiter C rocket, and orbited around our planet from a distance of anywhere between 229 and 1,563 miles above our surface. Equipped with a cosmic rays detector, Explorer 1 revealed radiation belts in our planet’s orbit. It continued to orbit the Earth until it reentered our atmosphere and disintegrated in 1970, making close to 58,000 orbits in its lifetime. Two more successful satellites were launched in 1958, not shortly before the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was formed to head America’s space program.
Why is space exploration important?