(born Rachel Annetta Isum; July 19, 1922) is a former
professor, registered nurse, and the widow of baseball player Jackie
1 Life and work
2 See also
4 External links
Life and work
She was born in
Los Angeles and attended the University of California,
Los Angeles, where she met Robinson in 1941 prior to his leaving UCLA
when his baseball eligibility ran out. She graduated from
UCLA June 1,
1945, with a bachelor's degree in nursing. Rachel and Robinson married
on February 10, 1946, the year before he broke into the big
leagues. Their son Jackie Robinson, Jr. (1946–1971) was born in
November 1946. The Robinsons would later have a daughter, Sharon, born
1950, and another son, David, born 1952.
After Jackie Robinson's retirement from baseball following the 1956
Rachel Robinson further pursued her nursing career, obtaining
a master's degree in psychiatric nursing from New York University,.
She worked as a researcher and clinician at the Albert Einstein
College of Medicine's Department of Social and Community Psychiatry, a
position she held for five years. She then became an Assistant
Yale School of Nursing
Yale School of Nursing and later the Director of Nursing
at the Connecticut Mental Health Center.
In 1972, she incorporated the
Jackie Robinson Development Corporation,
a real estate development company specializing in low- to
moderate-income housing, and served as president for ten years. In
1973, she founded the
Jackie Robinson Foundation, a not-for-profit
organization providing educational and leadership opportunities for
minority students. The Foundation has provided support for over 1,000
minority students and has maintained a 97% graduation rate among its
In 1996, she coauthored Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait with Lee
Daniels, published by Abrams Publishing Company.
In 2007, she was awarded the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award
by Commissioner Bud Selig.
In 2009, she received the
UCLA Medal from Chancellor
Gene Block for
her lifetime achievements. The
UCLA Medal is the university’s
highest honor and was created to "honor those individuals who have
made extraordinary and distinguished contributions to their
professions, to higher education, to our society, and to the people of
In addition to earning twelve honorary doctorates, Robinson was
Candace Award for Distinguished Service from the National
Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Equitable Life Black Achiever's
Award and the Associated Black Charities Black History Makers
Rachel Robinson received the
Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement
Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame. With this award, Rachel and
Jackie Robinson became the first married couple to reside alongside
each other in Major league Baseball’s Hall of Fame. She believed it
was a huge honor. In Rachel Robinson's speech after receiving the
award, she discussed the qualities and characteristics of Buck
O’Neil, the individual for whom the award is named. She stated that
it was an honor not only to receive the award, but also to have stood
alongside her husband while he overcame the obstacles thrown his way.
She was able to be his support system while still pursuing her career.
She currently resides on a 60-acre (240,000 m2) farm in Salem,
Robinson was portrayed by
Ruby Dee in the 1950 film The Jackie
Robinson Story and by
Nicole Beharie in the 2013 film 42.
Rachel Robinson resisted the idea of a movie being made about Jackie
Robinson, whom she referred to as “Jack”, not Jackie. She had
discussed the topic with a few individuals in film production, but
something to her was just not quite right. She felt those individuals
did not have the story as she envisioned it. In the year 2013 she was
able to come to an agreement with directors and producers from
Legendary Pictures and the Warner Brother’s Studio, and the film
"42" was released. She emphasized that it would be a great opportunity
to educate individuals about what her life was really like alongside
“Jack”. She believed that everyone was curious to know what it was
like to live with him, and what their life was like both within and
away from the ball park. Rachel discussed how the film would provide
real life scenarios on how they were treated after her husband broke
the color barrier in the major leagues. She believed it would allow
individuals to visualize what her life was really like, and how she
had to face and deal with all the challenges that confronted her
Rachel was able to meet with actress
Nicole Beharie and give her an
idea of what her relationship with “Jack” was really like. She
wanted to make sure their story was told as truthfully as possible.
Rachel wanted the audience to feel and experience the issues just as
she and her husband had.
Jackie Robinson Day
^ a b "Timeline -
Jackie Robinson Foundation".
^ a b c d e "Rachel Robinson, Visionary Videos, NVLP, African American
History". National Visionary Leadership Project. Library of Congress
American Folklife Center. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
^ a b Lee, Cynthia (May 5, 2009). "
Rachel Robinson to receive UCLA's
UCLA Today. Archived from the original on May 13,
Rachel Robinson & Lee Daniels (1996). Jackie Robinson:. Abrams.
p. 240. ISBN 0810937921.
^ Barry M. Bloom (April 15, 2007). "Commissioner honors Rachel
Robinson". MLB. Retrieved April 15, 2007.
Rachel Robinson Encounters a Slur". The New York Times. May 15,
Jackie Robinson Foundation Website
"Timeline of events in the lives of Rachel and Jackie Robinson"
"Advice from the Top: Robinson's widow offers lessons", USA Today
Q&A, April 16, 2007
Rachel Robinson's oral history video excerpts at the National
Visionary Leadership Project
Peter Dreier, "Honoring Rachel Robinson, Baseball Pioneer and Civil
Rights Activist". The Huffington Post, July 20, 2014.
Jackie Robinson Day
Jackie Robinson House
Jackie Robinson Foundation
Paul Robeson Congressional hearings
Rachel Robinson (wife)
Mack Robinson (brother)
Jackie Robinson Story (1950)
The Court-Martial of
Jackie Robinson (1990)
Soul of the Game (1996)
Jackie Robinson (2016)
The First (1981)
Play to Win (1989)
Radiology Associates Field at
Jackie Robinson Ballpark
Jackie Robinson Stadium
Jackie Robinson Parkway
Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award
Ken Griffey Jr.
Cal Ripken Jr.