(CNN) -- Everyone knows that Jackie Robinson broke the Major League Baseball "color barrier" in 1947. But what many people today may not know is that while Jackie's courageous performance integrated major league baseball on the field, it took many more years of struggle to break the baseball color barrier off the field.
As a major league player with the New York Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1950s and '60s, I was part of that struggle.
It may be difficult for young people today to believe, but back then black players were often not allowed to eat in the same restaurants or stay in the same hotels or live in the same neighborhoods as their white teammates, not just in the "Jim Crow" South but in many places across the country.
For example, as the only black player on a minor league team in Iowa, I vividly remember having to eat my dinner on the team bus while my white teammates were eating in a "whites only" restaurant during a road trip in Kansas in 1954.
When baseball defied segregation off the field - Bill White / Special to CNN
The Meck Report / Blog - May 14, 2011 - 1:07p