Rachel Robinson celebrated her 100th birthday on July 19.
Robinson, the widow of baseball racial barrier breaker Jackie Robinson, has lived a life of building her own legacy. Over the past century, she has become a registered nurse, professor, author, civil rights activist and founded the Jackie Robinson Foundation in 1973, months after Jackie’s death in 1972.
“I spoke with Mrs. Robinson today,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson wrote in a social media post on July 19. “We had prayer together. She is one of the greatest human beings in history. She used suffering, sacrifice and discipline for the greater good at her personal expense.”
The foundation has provided over 1,800 students more than $100 million in grants to over 260 universities with a 98% graduation rate, according to the foundation’s website.
“With a legacy rooted in philanthropy, her unwavering generosity has helped thousands of deserving young people to realize their potential and impact other lives,” the foundation’s birthday tribute read. “Join us in honoring an iconic American hero whose pioneering story of resilience and compassion will inspire generations to come.”
After receiving an undergraduate nursing degree from UCLA and a master’s in nursing from NYU, Robinson became the director of the mental health center at Yale University.