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Rachel Robinson

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Rachel Robinson
Robinson in 1997
Rachel Annetta Isum

(1922-07-19) July 19, 1922 (age 102)
EducationManual Arts High School
Alma mater
Occupation(s)Nurse, professor
(m. 1946; died 1972)
AwardsCommissioner's Historic Achievement Award (2007)
Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award (2017)

Rachel Annetta Robinson[1] (née Isum; born July 19, 1922)[1] is an American former professor and registered nurse. She is the widow of professional baseball player Jackie Robinson. After her husband's death, she founded the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

Life and work


Rachel Isum was born in Pasadena, California, and attended Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles, California, and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).[2] At UCLA, she met Jackie Robinson in 1941 prior to his leaving UCLA when his baseball eligibility ran out. She graduated from UCLA on June 1, 1945, with a bachelor's degree in nursing. Rachel and Robinson married on February 10, 1946,[1] the year before he broke into the big leagues. They had three children.[3]

After Jackie Robinson's retirement from baseball following the 1956 season, Rachel Robinson further pursued her nursing career, obtaining a master's degree in psychiatric nursing from New York University in 1959.[1] 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.[4] She then became an assistant professor at Yale School of Nursing and later the Director of Nursing at the Connecticut Mental Health Center.[4][5]

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 scholars.[4]

In 1996, she coauthored Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait with Lee Daniels, published by Abrams Publishing Company.[4][6]

Awards and honors

Rachel Robinson accepting the Congressional Gold Medal for her husband from President George W. Bush, 2005.

In 2007, Robinson received the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award by Commissioner Bud Selig.[7]

In 2009, Robinson was awarded 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 UCLA."[5] In addition to earning twelve honorary doctorates, Robinson was awarded the 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 Award.[4]

Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Reliquary's Shrine of the Eternals in 2014.[8] In 2017, she received the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame.[9]

Jackie Robinson Foundation


The Jackie Robinson Foundation is a national, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which gives scholarships to minority youths for higher education, as well as preserving the legacy of Baseball Hall of Fame member, Jackie Robinson. It was founded in 1973 by Rachel Robinson. It's located in New York, New York, United States.

Its motto is "JRF has provided college and graduate school scholarships as well as leadership development opportunities for highly motivated students of color with limited financial resources."



Robinson was portrayed by Ruby Dee in the 1950 film The Jackie Robinson Story and by Nicole Beharie in the 2013 film 42.[10]

Personal life


On July 19, 2022, Rachel Robinson turned 100.[11] She currently resides on a 60-acre (24-hectare) farm in Salem, Connecticut.[12]

See also



  1. ^ a b c d e "Rachel Robinson". Jackie Robinson Foundation. Retrieved September 24, 2021.
  2. ^ "Rachel Robinson's Homecoming : She Recalls a Legend and Her Days in L.A." Los Angeles Times. September 2, 1987.
  3. ^ "Jackie's wife, yes, but Rachel Robinson herself is a revelation. Happy 100th!". Los Angeles Times. July 19, 2022. Retrieved May 24, 2024.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ a b Lee, Cynthia (May 5, 2009). "Rachel Robinson to receive UCLA's highest honor". UCLA Today. Archived from the original on May 13, 2009.
  6. ^ Rachel Robinson & Lee Daniels (1996). Jackie Robinson. Abrams. p. 240. ISBN 0810937921.
  7. ^ Barry M. Bloom (April 15, 2007). "Commissioner honors Rachel Robinson". MLB. Retrieved April 15, 2007.
  8. ^ "Shrine of the Eternals – Inductees". Baseball Reliquary. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  9. ^ Barry Werner (May 25, 2017). "Rachel Robinson joins late husband Jackie Robinson in Baseball Hall of Fame". Fox News. Retrieved July 19, 2022.
  10. ^ Carhart, Ralph. "Not an Easy Tale to Tell: Jackie Robinson on Stage and Screen". Society for American Baseball Research.
  11. ^ "Jackie's wife, yes, but Rachel Robinson herself is a revelation. Happy 100th!". Los Angeles Times. July 19, 2022. Retrieved July 19, 2022.
  12. ^ "Rachel Robinson Encounters a Slur". The New York Times. May 15, 1997.