Back Where It All Began
I couldn't say when I first picked up a baseball, but I must have been five or six. At that time we were living in Oklahoma City where we had moved before I was one. I was born in Birmingham, Alabama, on May 30, 1910, and was named Henry Frazier Robinson, Jr., the Frazier being my mother's idea. When I was very young our family also included my grandmother, my mother's mother, who was part Creek Indian. Her name was Claudia Black and she saved my life. I was about a year and a half old when she saw me drowning in the bathtub and pulled me from the water. She passed away shortly after, but I still remember how she would always keep me on her lap. She was the only one of my grandparents that I ever saw. I always heard that she was a freed slave. I never learned very much about my grandfather, my mother's father, and can't say if he'd been a slave too. I'm quite sure my grandparents on my father's side had been slaves because my father was older than my mother by about seven or eight years and I heard him speak of his mother having been a slave. As far as I know my dad and his mother and father were from North Carolina.
My father, Henry Robinson, was a minister, and he and my mother, whose name was Corrine, made sure that my two sisters, four brothers, and I saw the inside of a church. They were very religious, and made us go to church all the time. They were very strict about that. My father was strict about everything, very strict. Because he was a minister, all the people gave him the utmost respect, and he demanded respect out of his children. I knew he would get you if you did something wrong. That's a