Nursing Across the Ages

by Sean N. Bennett

Rachel Robinson



Rachel Robinson graduating with her Masters in Nursing circa 1961 Figure 1.

Early Life (1922-1940)

Rachel Isum was born on July 19th, 1922 to Zellee and Charles Islum. She grew up in a house on 36th place on the westside of Los Angeles, California. It was a predominantly white neighborhood. There were still covenants in place preventing blacks from buying in white neighborhoods. The Isums arranged for a very light-skinned black man to buy the house and then resell it to them, a very risky and brave arrangement at the time. Rachel attended an integrated elementary school. Rachel faced a lot of racism and bigotry growing up in LA, where the Ku Klux Klan had a presence and only 4% of LA's population was black. One example she has mentioned is she was regularly sent up to the balcony with her friends whenever they went to the movies (Dreier, 2017).

Rachel's childhood was a contrast from many black families that could provide in this time. In 1883, the Supreme Court overturned parts of the Civil Rights Act of 1875, pushing the "separate but equal" theory across the nation. Jim Crow laws promoted "separate schools, hospitals, churches, cemeteries, restrooms, and prisons, and these facilities were usually inferior to facilities for white people, although the laws called for the separate facilities to be of equal quality" (2020). The Civil Rights Movement had not officially begun, and black communities were "ravaged by riots, subjected to racism and discrimination in every way possible, and under the near-constant threat of the highly-active Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups" (Lewis, 2019).

Rachel describes the racism she encountered growing up as 'subtle,' stating that because all her friends were up there, she didn't realize it was racism until much later on. Her mother was very protective of Rachel, and didn't let her go far unchaperoned, so she reports she did not understand much about racism until she was grown. Rachel says that LA in the 1920s and 30s was more of a 'country town' and she says her world was small, consisting of her school on 36th street and her church, in which she was very active, even teaching Sunday School until she went to college. Her father was an example to her of fighting against racism, so she learned at a young age that she shouldn't accept it as normal. One example she had of her father was in 1935, when he went to a restaurant in LA with a light-skinned friend, and because the waiter didn't notice they had come together, he gave them different menus, with different prices on them. When Charles and his friend compared prices, they figured out the differences. Her father sued the restaurant and won. As Rachel puts it, racism wasn't 'legislated' in LA in that time the way it was in the south. She said because of all this, she didn't encounter 'vicious' racism until she traveled south with her husband, Jackie, years later.

Rachel's father, Charles, was a veteran of World War I as a war medic. On his last day of active service, he was gassed in France, leaving him disabled and with a heart condition. He worked as a book-binder for the Los Angeles Times, one of the few black men to work for the LA Times at this time, but he retired early because of his condition; by the time Rachel was in high school. This resulted in her mother, Zelle, needing to work to provide for the family. She took cooking classes and cake decorating classes. She started her own business as a gourmet cook and caterer for high-end clients in Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Rachel began working alongside her mother at age 10, and often took care of her father. She would help her mother with her business, sew baby clothes, and on Saturdays would work concessions at the public library. Rachel loved fashion, she sewed all her clothes through high school, but these jobs are how she earned her money for shoes and sweaters.

Sources state that the Isums prioritized exposing their children to art and culture. They maintained a strict Christian household, where Rachel was expected to "learn proper dress and good manners" (Jackie and Rachel Robinson, A Love Story 2021) Rachel reportedly had violin lessons as a young girl, and visited museums and gardens with her family. She dreamed of one day becoming a doctor.

Nursing School (1940-1945)

Although her parents pushed her to choose a career that they thought would be more compatible with motherhood, Rachel was encouraged to apply for further education. Rachel was a very determined girl; she even describes herself as ‘practical.’ From a young age she would have ‘five-year plans’ and she stuck with them. Schooling was no exception. She went to Manual Arts High School, which was the third public high school ever built in Los Angeles. She graduated from there in 1940. She chose to apply to University of Southern California-Los Angeles (UCLA)’s prestigious nursing program. Rachel was a real pioneer going to college as a black woman in 1940. Less than two percent of black women at the time had a college degree. She spoke of how she was one of the only black students commuting to UCLA ‘in her old Ford V8.’ She remembers fondly how fortunate she felt to be able to attend, saying, “UCLA was less than two decades old, and so was I. As the first in my family to attend college, I was spurred on by their love, their expectations, and their active involvement in helping me reach this goal.”

There was a $3 application fee for applying to UCLA and to be admitted into the college. That would equal $57.23 in today’s year of 2021. Once accepted, Rachel had a tuition that was a lot different than what it is today. She had to pay $263 a year for school at UCLA. That was the tuition rate for the residents of California that went to UCLA. That would convert to a $5,018.04 tuition rate in today’s year of 2021 (CPI Inflation Calculator). That is such a big difference! While attending, Rachel had to pay a $29 incidental fee. An incidental fee had to be paid each semester by undergraduate students. It covers extra fees that tuition alone does not cover. Some examples of expenses the incidental fee covers for students are the use of libraries, gymnasiums, swimming pools, athletic equipment, showers, consultation for medical advice, and lockers. Rachel relates that her father was able to secure a ‘small grant’ to get her into college, but that there was no money to sustain her while she attended. She relates that she immediately looked for small jobs, and soon she obtained a job as a night shift riveter for Lockheed, who was manufacturing airplanes for the wartime effort.

UCLA’s School of Nursing was a five year bachelor’s program. It was very competitive and students were expected to excel in the program and Rachel was successful throughout the program. Nursing students would graduate with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing and a Certificate in Nursing. The first two years were for prerequisite classes and general education requirements were spent at the College of Applied Arts in Los Angeles. They were to attend the School of Nursing at the University Hospital in San Francisco for the remaining years. While there, she worked eight hour shifts at the hospital while still working on her studies. Nursing students were to have a four month capstone to complete the nursing program. Nursing students were expected to maintain their grades with each class higher than a C to be able to graduate. They had to complete 60 credits to graduate from the nursing program. Nursing students also had the opportunity to study public health nursing for an additional year if they so choose (University of California Bulletin 1940-1941, pgs 94-95). Rachel relates that her priority was finishing college. She had seen other girls get married and not finish, or else once married they would get pregnant and not be able to finish college. She delayed marrying Jackie Robinson (her future husband) because she was determined to focus on her school work and graduate.

Rachel met her future husband, Jackie Robinson, during her time at UCLA. She was a freshman, and he was a senior at the time, a school athlete, she described him as “a big man on campus”. He was a sports star at UCLA; he was on the baseball team, basketball team, football team, and ran track. They met during the fall of the 1940 school semester. She first saw him when she attended a football game in UCLA, but in spite of what many might think, it wasn’t love at first sight. She shared “I thought [Jackie] was arrogant because of the way he stood in the backfield with his hands on his hips. That’s the one trait that I just can’t stand in an individual. So, I was very surprised at how he presented himself when I actually met him.”

UCLA at this time was only partially segregated. The only time black and white students were integrated was during sports games and in class. Everywhere else was segregated. Rachel recalls that every day the black students would spend their time at Kerckoff Hall. They were first introduced to each other after a football game by their mutual friend, Ray Barlett, at Kerckhoff Hall. Rachel recalls of their first encounter “Jack was quiet, confident, friendly and had a beautiful smile, just the opposite of what I had anticipated. I was just so relieved to see that he was a human being that I could admire.” She once said, “I thought he’d be arrogant.” She goes on, “When I met Jack, he was so humble, so thoughtful – and handsome. I thought, ‘I’m glad I was wrong!’” (Taylor, 2020). She admired how handsome he was in his white shirts, unashamed of how dark his skin was against the white of the shirt. She found out where he parked and began to park close to him every day at school. He soon noticed the pretty freshman parking close to him and had a friend introduce them. The pair quickly knew they wanted to marry and got engaged within the year; but Rachel was determined to finish her education, and soon after they met, Jackie was drafted into the army for WWII. He was a second lieutenant in the army, but never saw combat. Rachel said that the five years they were dating were invaluable. They gained each other’s trust and they really bonded during that time.

Rachel and Jackie Robinson

Rachel and Jackie Robinson Figure 2.

Being at UCLA in the 1940’s was a trying time, especially for Rachel. In 1941, her father died, and the United States entered WWII. She recalls this as being a very stressful time for her. In addition to her troubles, a lot of the faculty and students from UCLA enlisted or were drafted in and ended up going off to war. This led to a decrease in the number of students attending at that time, the lowest it had been since its inception (UCLA in the 1940’s). Jackie left to go fight in the war and Rachel left for San Francisco to finish her studies. They continued to write the entire time they were out. Students at the University felt the impact of all of the students and faculty that were gone. There was a Student War Board that was formed to help the soldiers across the seas. They sold war bonds in Royce Quad, organized blood drives, planted victory gardens, and collected gifts to send to troops. There is no evidence that Rachel was a part of this group, but a majority of the students helped aid in the cause. UCLA was also expanding and growing throughout the 1940’s. There began to be more degrees offered to students. The nursing program also continually expanded its program since its advent in 1920 all the way up to the present time.

Jackie sent her chocolates every week while he was in the army and she was in San Francisco. She graduated with honors in 1945 with her bachelor's degree in nursing. Upon graduation, she won the Florence Nightingale Award for clinical excellence, which was awarded by her peers. She then got a job in the nursery of Los Angeles General Hospital. Even after graduating Rachel said of Jackie, “he had to get a job before I married him.” Jackie began playing for the negro baseball league with the Monarchs. While on the Monarchs, Branch Rickey met with Jackie in August 1945. Jackie was a player Branch thought could be the one to break the racial barrier in Major League Baseball. Jackie was an amazing baseball player, a Methodist (churchgoer), military veteran and college educated. When Branch recruited Jackie to play with the Dodgers as the first black player in the national league, he asked Jackie if he had a lady in his life, because “you’re gonna need her” (Jackie and Rachel Robinson, A Love Story, 2021). This was a prophetic statement. And Rachel was just the strong, confident woman to help support Jackie as he fought his way through the MLB racial barrier.

Jackie Robinson with a few of his 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers teammates. Figure 3. Dennis Schlossman (Author) (January 31, 2020) Jackie Robinson and the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers.

Marriage and Family

The young couple got married on February 10, 1946 in the Independent Church in Los Angeles, California. Their ceremony was performed by their friend, Reverend Karl Downs. Two weeks later, Rachel and Jackie’s honeymoon found them heading to spring training with the Montreal Royals in the deep south: Daytona Beach, Florida. Sadly, Mrs. Robinson recounted, “We had a terrible honeymoon. We were bumped from two planes when white passengers were put on. We had to stay out and wait. We finally had to take a bus to Daytona Beach. We were rushing all the way, trying to get there on time.”

Rachel and Jackie Robinson cutting their cake on their wedding day . Figure 4.

It was Jackie and Rachel Robinson against the world. Jackie couldn’t stay at the team hotels during spring training in the Deep South or eat with the team in restaurants. So Rachel, the only wife allowed to travel with the team, was his only companion. There was no one else for him. There was no one for her, either. They only had each other. In Daytona Beach, they couldn’t stay at the team hotel due to segregation, so they stayed in the home of a black family. When the team went to play Jacksonville, they found the ballpark locked. During the second inning of a game in Sanford, Police Chief Roy G. Williams walked onto the field and threatened to arrest Jackie if he didn’t leave. Rachel came to all Jackie’s games. She watched pitchers throw at Jackie’s head, infielders spit in his face, opposing ballplayers taunt him from the dugout. She had to hear the death threats and read the hate mail. Jackie Robinson once said about Rachel: “Rae and I have never had a deeply serious conflict. We do not have a storybook marriage full of sweetness and light. But we are both very grateful that our love for each other has been strong enough for us to give each other comfort through good and bad times.”

Rachel and Jackie Robinson as a young couple . Figure 5. BBO-ROBINSON-LOOKBACK-15-90-1549311304.jpg (1140x798) (

Rachel and her husband Jackie endured much throughout their marriage, however they vowed that their home would be a haven for them. Jackie once mentioned that “I recall the days at ballparks, […] being insulted by someone because of my race — or just having a bad day or a slump. Rae was always there when I got home. She was there to say exactly the right word or to kiss me and make me realize that, after all, the world hadn’t come to an end.” "We had an excitement in each other," Rachel says. "When the outside attacks came, they just pushed us together more." That's the heart of a love story, of a bond between two strong people that made them strong enough together to change the world. "There are enormous problems out here," she says, "but I will not succumb to despair." Leonard Coleman, president of the National League and the foundation's head, says: "If there was a flood, I'd get next to Rachel. She stands on higher ground than the rest of us." In an interview, Rachel stated, “Jackie and I were definitely partners in the whole business, and I feel I played an important role in that. He gave me a significant role, and I took it. I'm not a heroine, I don't see myself as such. It did not fall apart in my arms, and I had to push it out the door. Some people tell this story, and it's not true. He had failures, he had doubts, he had disappointments, and, of course, this is the relevance of the support figure. You are ready to help them at a time when they need such help. But he did a lot on his own, and I think sometimes people downplay him by making it sound like I'm standing behind him and holding him, which I didn't. I walked beside him, and he often turned to me for support, but he was an extraordinary man in his own right.”

Their first child, Jackie Jr., was born on November 18, 1946, at Good Samaritan Hospital. Jack and Rachel had the luxury of the early support of their families, but challenges awaited them. Needing money, Jack signed on with a local basketball team, the Los Angeles Red Devils, for $50 a game, an experiment that lasted only a few weeks. Sharon Robinson was born on January 13, 1950. Rachel was overjoyed that she had had a girl, as she had long harbored secret fantasies that she would have a family like her own as a child — a willful girl born between two boys. After the birth of Sharon, Jack and Jackie Jr. flew to California in February 1950 so that Jack could film the motion picture The Jackie Robinson Story. David, their third son, was born shortly after Sharon, in 1952: the last of their three children. Jackie said of Rachel, “She has been a sweet wife and a loving mother to our three children.” Rachel would always remind her kids how important they are because her husband made her feel like that.

Rachel and Jackie the day after their third son, David is born in 1952. Figure 6.

In 1955, Jackie and Rachel Robinson built a house in the white suburb of Stamford, Connecticut. One white family moved away when they learned of the Robinsons moving in. Martin Luther King, Jr., came to visit them, as did many other civil rights leaders because Rachel and Jack had gotten deeply involved in the movement. The Robinsons hosted annual concerts to raise money for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Jackie also started the Freedom National Bank in Harlem and a construction company to build low-income housing. Rachel served on the board of the bank until it closed in 1990. The Robinson Family celebrating Jackie’s 35th birthday January 31,1954

As Rachel's life continued, so did her activism for not only patients, but all people. After Jackie retired from baseball in 1956, Rachel went back to school at New York University and began to earn her master's degree in psychiatric nursing in 1959, which was enjoying exponentially growing student numbers due to returning GIs at the time. Jackie was hesitant for her to go back to work, as he recalled his own mother’s tiring work and long hours. Rachel longed for some self-improvement and independence after supporting Jackie through his 16-year baseball career. She was worried she wouldn’t do well in school, and was now nothing more than a ‘helpless and befuddled old lady,’ but returning to college at age 37 quickly became a joy to her as she realized her life experiences set her up well to excel in college once again. She strived to keep her connection to Jackie a secret. She wanted to succeed on her own merits. She graduated in 1961 and then had a very brief stint at the First Day Hospital in the Bronx in New York. She quickly changed to working as a psychiatric nurse for Albert Einstein College of Medicine, then swiftly became the head of their Department of Social and Community Psychiatry. While there, as a researcher and nurse-therapist, she participated in a five year study that proved family assistance was key in the life, safety, and independence of the mentally ill. Unfortunately, it was only ever in theory at the time, as a lack of funding never got the proven program off the ground. She eventually took positions as Director of Nursing at Connecticut Mental Health Center near their home, while simultaneously working as an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Yale University. At CMHC, Rachel was able to apply all the knowledge and research she had learned during her time at Albert Einstein College. She found a lot of reward in helping and uplift the people there through her nursing work. In five years, Rachel’s life had changed drastically from solely supporting her husband and children to a rewarding career in mental health nursing. She was a well-respected nurse and educator in her own right. During this time, Jackie became more involved in politics, which came with a pay cut, and he began to appreciate the money she was able to make through her hard work. Political Involvement

The 1960's brought about the Civil Rights Movement, and Rachel used her voice alongside Jackie to push equality. Rachel was an early feminist, returning to school five full years before the feminist movement was started by the book Feminine Miystique. When Yale asked her to join the board of trustees, she turned them down, saying, “Not unless you put another black woman on the board. You won’t get a two-fer from me!” She proudly remembers participating in the March on Washington, and was present for Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream'' speech. She remembers the hope and pride she felt as the speech brought tears to her eyes. In 1962, Jackie was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, one year after his retirement (despite the traditional qualification of five years after retirement). Rachel Robinson receiving an award in Jackie’s honor. With this additional limelight, the Robinson's had significant influence in the United States (2017). By 1963, they even hosted a jazz concert at their Connecticut home in efforts to raise funds for student protestors who needed bail money in Birmingham, Alabama. These shows attracted some of the most iconic in the jazz genre, including Dizzie Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald (2021). This first event was even attended by Martin Luther King Jr. himself.

Their life during this time was not without troubles. By this time, Jackie Sr.'s health was declining rapidly due to diabetes and heart disease. At age 53, he was reportedly nearly blind. And Jackie Jr. was struggling. He served in the Vietnam war, where he sustained an injury that led to drug addiction. In March 1968, he was arrested on drug and weapons charges. Rachel, through her connections, was able to get him a room in the Yale New Haven Hospital. This hospital was a hospital for mentally unwell patients. It was founded in 1966, and affiliated with CMHC, one of the oldest community mental health centers in America. Jackie Jr. resented staying there and soon talked his way out by convincing the physicians to release him. He went right back to his addiction. Eventually faced with either prison or rehab, to his parents' relief, he chose rehab and entered the Daytrop drug rehabilitation program. He thrived there, and was not only able to overcome his addiction, but actually began serving as a counselor there. He died unexpectedly in a car crash on June 17, 1971. Rachel was out of town on this day, so her husband and daughter raced to where she was to tell her before she found out about it on the news. She was grief-stricken. They had the “Afternoon of Jazz” annual concert scheduled two weeks after he died. It was already intended to be a fundraiser for Daytrop, and Jackie Jr. had done most of the organizing work. Rachel and Jackie decided to make it a tribute to their son, taken from them and the world too soon. Jackie in attendance at the Afternoon of Jazz dedicated to Jackie Jr., weeks after his death 1971.

If this wasn’t enough heartache for Rachel, on October 24, 1972 Jackie ran into Rachel’s arms in the kitchen while she was making breakfast, completely panicked. He quickly collapsed on the floor and the last words he spoke before losing consciousness was, “I love you.” He died of a heart attack later that day without ever regaining consciousness. His funeral on October 28, 1972 was attended by 2,500 people. Rachel understood that the devastation she had of his death was shared by the nation. She set aside two thirds of the pews at his funeral for anyone who wanted to attend, and even reserved some for the children skipping school to attend his funeral. Jackie Robinson’s funeral Rachel knew the importance of being Mrs. Jackie Robinson, so a few weeks after his death, she resigned from Yale and took over his finances and became a steward of his legacy.

Rachel's mother, Zelle, died the following spring, in 1973. Despite these sudden and drastic changes in Rachel's life, she used her energy to uplift those around her. She founded the Jackie Robinson Development Corporation, pushing funds to purchase and build low-moderate income housing. She served as president of this endeavor for about 10 years. Shortly after her mother's death, she also instituted a not-for-profit organization called the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which promoted leadership, scholarship and educational accessibility to minority students. In the coming years, this foundation has provided support to over a thousand minority students, which averaged and maintained 97% college graduation rate (2013). Beginning in 1975, the “Afternoon of Jazz” annual fundraiser solely supported the Jackie Robinson foundation. It was run by Rachel Robinson, and eventually passed to her daughter, Sharon. The 50th anniversary of an “Afternoon of Jazz” in 2002 was also the last time the fundraising concert was held. Rachel channeled her mourning into memorial for her loved ones, pushing forward their values and benefitting generations to come. Her other two children, as of the writing of this, are still alive and well. Rachel currently lives with Sharon in Florida in a home they designed together. Sharon, in addition to authoring two books about her father, followed in her mother’s footsteps by becoming a midwife, educator, and also serves on the MLB’s director of educational programming. Rachel’s surviving son, David, is a coffee grower. He had 10 children and followed his parents footsteps of social activism in Tanzania. Rachel is alive and kicking and is currently 99 years old. Awards

Rachel Robinson is a remarkable woman. She has had many major life accomplishments. With the Jackie Robinson Foundation, she was able to accept the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2005 from President George W. Bush on behalf of Jackie Robinson (The Jackie Robinson Foundation). This is the highest award in the United States. It is a sign of bravery, courage, sacrifice, and integrity. Each person given the award is recognized for going above and beyond. Each metal is earned and treasured with the utmost respect (Congressional Medal of Honor Society). She also received the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award in 2007 in honor of Jackie. This award is given by the Commissioner of Baseball to an individual or group that has made an impact on the sport of baseball. This is a unique award because it is given as the Commissioner sees fit (Wikipedia, 2021).

Rachel accepted many accomplishments on behalf of Jackie, but she also accepted many for herself. For starters, earned 12 honorary doctorates in her lifetime. She was also awarded the UCLA Medal in 2009. The medal is the university’s highest honor and was given to Rachel as a tribute to her lifetime of dedication to education and social activism (Women & Philanthropy, 2009). While accepting the award, Rachel declared that, “Being a nurse has strengthened each role I have chosen since [graduating]... [Jack and I] valued education not only for its economic significance, but also for its societal benefits. We believed that education was the passport to the future.” From her nursing career and education, Rachel was awarded the New York University College of Nursing Celebration Award.

In 1982, Rachel was awarded the Candace Award for Distinguished Service. This award was given from 1982-1992 by the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. Recipients of this award are those Black role models who have set a standard of excellence for all people. The award was founded to increase the public's recognition of the achievements of Black individuals (Candace Award, 2021). Rachel was also awarded the Equitable Life Black Achiever’s Award and the Associated Black Charities Black History Makers Award. In 2013, she was awarded the Global Citizens award. This award is given to those who are making a difference with humanitarian efforts.

2017 was a big year for Rachel. She received the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame. This award goes to those who have enhanced the positive image of baseball on society, broadened the game’s appeal, and represents dignity and integrity like John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil (who the award is named after). This award was extra special to Rachel because it allowed her and Jackie to become the first married couple to reside alongside each other in the Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame. She has always considered this award to be a great honor (Rachel Robinson, 2021).

Rachel has also been bestowed numerous other awards such as: Women of Power Award, Branch Rickey Award, League of Black Women, Women in Action Award, New York Post Lifetime Achievers Liberty Metal, Visionary Leadership Award, Giant Step Award, and Baseball Assistance Team Award, just to name a few (Jackie Robinson Foundation). Rachel Accepting the Congressional Medal of Honor from President George W. Bush.

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 the people of UCLA."In 2007, she was awarded the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award by Commissioner Bud Selig. She currently resides on a 60-acre farm in Salem, Connecticut.

According to Forbes, Wikipedia, IMDB, and other reputable online sources, Rachel Robinson has an estimated net worth of $10 Million at the age of 99 years old in the year 2021. She has earned most of her wealth from her thriving career as a family member from the United States.

Rachel Robinson tirelessly worked to recognize and enhance the image of her husband, Jackie Robinson. She authored a book on him in 1996 titled Jackie Robinson: “An Intimate Portrait,” published by Abrams Publishing Company. She initially resisted any efforts to make any films on the life story of Jackie Robinson. However, she relented later and gave her valuable feedback and opinion when in 2013, a biopic was made on Jackie Robinson. She reviewed the script and met the lead actor of the Jackie Robinson biopic directed and produced by Legendary Pictures and Warner Brothers Studio. “42,” the movie inspired by the great Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball, was the No. 1 grossing movie in the country over the weekend — raking in more than $27 million. A huge reason for the success is in no small part due to Rachel’s involvement.

Today, Rachel Robinson is the chairperson of the Jackie Robinson Development Corporation, which provides housing for over 1,300 low to moderate-income families in New York. She has been continuing this mission of mercy for many years in the name of her husband, the great baseball superstar, Jackie Robinson.

The life and legacy of Jackie Robinson were celebrated throughout Major League Baseball on Monday with each ballplayer wearing uniform No. 42. Rachel Robinson was at Dodger Stadium for the festivities honoring her late husband where Ford threw out the ceremonial first pitch. On Apr. 15, 1997, No. 42 was retired by all of Major League Baseball in honor of Jackie Robinson.

Caring for others is a lifelong dedication as witnessed by her profession as a nurse and teacher. All her life, Rachel Robinson has been an achiever. Some of the awards which have acknowledged her many significant contributions are the Florence Nightingale Award, the Distinguished Humanitarian Award, and Equitable Life's Black Achievers Award. She has also received Honorary Degrees from St. John's College, as well as Springfield and McAllister Colleges.

Though very actively involved with her work, Rachel Robinson spends enormous time and effort in the promotion of civil and human rights in the United States and around the world. Her commitment to human freedom is a signal for us all to follow.

A nurse and civil rights activist, Rachel has been involved in various social activities advocating equal rights to African-American citizens and providing free education to talented black students. Mrs. Robinson is an active participant in the works of others, including the Phelps-Stokes Foundation, the New York Historical Society, and the American Society for Training and Development. Her outspoken commitments are dedicated to the growth of the human spirit and freedom to be the best one can be. Every day, Rachel Robinson brings more people closer to this reality. Rachel Robinson in the present day References

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