14 May Profile in Distinction
Recently, I watched the two-part documentary, Jackie Robinson, that aired on PBS (highly recommend by the way). Jackie Robinson is to be admired for what he accomplished in baseball and for the doors he opened for athletes in every sport. Post-baseball he continued to be impatient and intolerant of the slow progress of equal opportunities for African Americans not only on the baseball field but in managerial and coaching positions. A fact that still remains today. Despite all of the movies and documentaries that have been done on his life, less attention has been given to his impact on the civil rights efforts. Rarely is time spent highlighting his camaraderie with individuals such as Martin Luther King Jr. or his interactions with Presidents Nixon, Kennedy, Eisenhower and Johnson. Depictions of his life tend to begin and end with his life in baseball so these other contributions have mostly gone unnoticed or minimized.
Despite all of the great things he accomplished on and off the field, It appears that his greatest accomplishment was his apparent wisdom in the choice of his wife, Rachel Robinson. Rachel Robinson is known as the supportive wife of Jackie Robinson who has continued to be his voice in the 40 years since his death. She has continued to advocate tirelessly for the causes that he fought for during his lifetime and to maintain his legacy over the years. Perhaps, less known, is that she is quite accomplished in her own right. She obtained her Master’s degree in psychiatric nursing and worked for several years as a researcher and clinician. She went on to become an Assistant Professor at Yale School of Nursing and was Director of Nursing at a mental health center in Connecticut. She has received several honorary doctorates, awards and honors.
Above and beyond all of her academic and professional accomplishments, she is a woman who knows what she wants and demands respect. In the documentary, she reflected on times when Jackie was not fully supportive of her academic and professional endeavors but she pursued her goals anyway. She shared stories about the constant discrimination and death threats they dealt with and shared specific examples of her own resilience and fight against the racism and indignities that she encountered. At 93, she still carries herself with an unmistakable air of sophistication and elegance. In every picture she has a confident demeanor with her head held high and a warm smile. She still reflects lovingly on her life with her husband and speaks openly about their affection and love for one another.
This blog is all about being a woman of honorable distinction and the best way to learn how to do that is to observe those that do it best. Periodically, I would like to highlight these individuals in posts that I will refer to as “Profiles in Distinction.” Rachel Robinson, is indeed, a Profile in Distinction. She personifies exactly what this blog is about. It is about being a woman who demands respect when you walk into the room. It is about having an air of sophistication, elegance, confidence and grace. It is about knowing what your values are and what you believe in and then standing boldly in that position. It is about having a dream and not letting anyone get in the way of accomplishing that dream. May we all strive to be an undeniable profile in distinction.
**Photo – Copyright 2016 S.A. Foster. All Rights Reserved. Do not use without permission.