Rachel Isum Robinson, widow of Major League Baseball legendary Jackie Robinson,was the centerpiece of a historical event in Pasadena on Mothers Day as Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard presented her with its first Key to the City at Robinson Park.
"We intend for this to be a very meaningful expression of Pasadena's commitment to the Robinson family and to Jackie and Rachel," said Bogaard. "We want to say as loudly and firmly as we can with this key to the city that the Robinson family is a source of pride to us all." Regarded as MLB's first lady, Mrs. Robinson was the centerpiece of the Jackie Robinson All-Star Weekend ceremony at Robinson Park.
receiving an award from the City of Pasadena," said Rachel. Rachel graduated from Manual Arts High School and entered UCLA in 1940. There she met a quiet yet confident star athlete name Jackie Roosevelt Robinson.
A psychiatric nurse by training, Rachel built quite a successful career including a researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, a director of nursing for a mental health center and an assistant professor at Yale School of Nursing. "I always knew that after raising the kids I wanted a Master's Degree and a career for myself as well as advance Jack's legacy."
Rachel says she has always been self-motivated. However she is most inspired by the number of students the Jackie Robinson Foundation is supporting which has graduated more than 1,300 students with a 97% graduation rate.
The event also highlighted a groundbreaking ceremony to launch the beginning of a 3-stage project to rebuild, expand, and modernize Pasadena's Robinson Park. According to Ishmael Trone, Event Chairman for the Jackie Robinson All-Star Weekend, "These events prove to the Black community and the greater Pasadena community that change is possible in this city. Rachel receiving the key to the city is a historical moment for this city." He adds, "This was a historical moment and it was great that an African American received it first. I am proud that it occurred at Robinson Park."
Other speakers at the Mother's Day event included Kyle Jackson, a senior at Pasadena High School, and the recipient of a Women In Action scholarship and Kristin Bernert, President of WNBA, Los Angeles Sparks, as well as local politicians. Also in attendance was Delano Robinson, widow of Jackie's brother, Mathew "Mack" Robinson, the 1936 Olympic Silver Medalist in track and field, as well as many other family members.
Both Rachel and Delano agreed that Jackie and Mack's mother, Mallie, would be proud of what is being done to honor her sons.