Bank of America is proud to sponsor Jackie Robinson, a two-part documentary by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon. The film depicts the life and accomplishments of baseball legend and civil rights pioneer Jack Roosevelt Robinson, who fearlessly crossed baseball’s color line and continued fighting discrimination after his baseball career ended. We’re proud to celebrate Jackie’s legacy and follow in his commitment to respect and equality for all.
Explore the life and accomplishments of Jackie’s wife, Rachel Robinson.
Jackie and Rachel Robinson were married in 1946, before his first season in the Minors. Rachel traveled with Jackie to Spring Training and helped him through the discrimination he faced each day.
Rachel was the primary support system during Jackie’s first season and through the rest of his career and life: “I was the support person so often misidentified as the ‘little woman behind the great man,’ but I was neither little nor behind him. I felt powerful by his side as his partner, essential, challenged, and greatly loved.” 1
1Jackie Robinson; An Intimate Portrait, Rachel Robinson
In addition to raising their three children, Rachel had an ambitious career as a nurse. She earned degrees from both UCLA and NYU, served as Director of Nursing for the Connecticut Mental Health Center and worked as an Assistant Professor at Yale University’s School of Nursing.
After baseball, Jackie and Rachel remained active in the Civil Rights Movement, marching alongside leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. In 1963, they hosted a jazz concert at their home to raise bail money for imprisoned activists. The show featured some of the era’s best jazz musicians, including Dizzy Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald.
Since Jackie’s death in 1972, Rachel has continued his legacy. She founded both the Jackie Robinson Development Corporation and Jackie Robinson Foundation and has spearheaded the celebration of Jackie Robinson Day. In 2007, she received the MLB Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award.
MLB footage used with permission.