Rachel Robinson

From BR Bullpen

Rachel Annetta Isum Robinson

Biographical Information[edit]

Rachel Robinson, née Rachel Isum, is best known as the former wife of Jackie Robinson, but she is also an important figure in her own right as a militant for civil rights and inclusion and for advancing her late husband's legacy after his death in 1972.

She first met Robinson when they were both students at UCLA. She studied nursing and the couple married on February 10, 1946, shortly after Jackie had become the first African-American in the modern era to sign a contract with a major league team - the Brooklyn Dodgers. She accompanied him to his first training camp in Daytona Beach, FL and then on to Montreal, QC, where Robinson broke the color barrier in organized baseball that season. She was pregnant with the couple's first child at the time, Jackie Jr., and served as an anchor through trying times for her husband. They moved to Brooklyn, NY in 1947 when Robinson integrated the major leagues in 1947, and had two more children, daughter Sharon born in 1950 and son David born in 1952.

After Jackie's retirement as a player after the 1956 season, she resumed her nursing studies, earning a graduate degree and held senior positions within the profession, with a specialty in psychiatric nursing. She was also a professor of nursing at Yale University. After Jackie's premature death, she established the Jackie Robinson Foundation, dedicated to providing educational and leadership opportunities for minority students, in 1973, which became a model of its type. She also worked closely with Major League Baseball on various initiatives aimed at promoting diversity. In 2007, she received the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award from Commissioner Bud Selig on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of her late husband's major league debut, one of a very large number of honors that were bestowed to her. She won the Dorothy Jane Mills Award in 2019.

She became a centenarian on July 19, 2022, which was the day the 2022 All-Star Game was played in Los Angeles, CA. A special tribute to Jackie took place before the game, and she was herself honored during the game.

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