Jackie Robinson was a hero on and off the baseball diamond, becoming a star athlete in college and a civil rights advocate before and after he integrated major league baseball.

Robinson’s life, however, was short; he died at 53. That was long before people knew much about Black-white health gaps. Years later, it’s worth asking: Did the racism he faced contribute to an early death? Three scholars of health disparities explain how racism harms Black people’s health and shortens their lives, affecting even the strongest and the most stoic.

Also today:

Lynne Anderson

Senior Health + Medicine Editor

Adoring fans clamor for an autograph from baseball legend Jackie Robinson in 1962, but Robinson faced slurs, hatred and insults in his early years in the majors. Bettman/

Did racism kill Jackie Robinson?

Tamra Burns Loeb, University of California, Los Angeles; Alicia Morehead-Gee, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science; Derek Novacek, UCLA School of Medicine

Major league baseball opens today, and few are likely to give race a thought. When Jackie Robinson integrated MLB in 1947, it was a far different story. Did racism lead to Robinson's early death?


  • How can all schools safely reopen?

    Brandon Guthrie, University of Washington

    In-person learning can safely resume as long as schools take steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.


Arts + Culture

  • How Black poets and writers gave a voice to ‘Affrilachia’

    Amy M. Alvarez, West Virginia University; Jameka Hartley, University of Alabama

    Three decades after poet Frank X. Walker coined the term 'Affrilachia,' the region's poets and artists continue to create work that probes the world of a people long ignored.

Ethics + Religion

Politics + Society

Science + Technology

Environment + Energy

  • Move over, corn and soybeans: The next biofuel source could be giant sea kelp

    Diane Kim, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences; Ignacio Navarrete, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences; Jessica Dutton, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

    Making biofuels from crops grown on land poses trade-offs between food and fuel. A new study looks offshore.

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