Here at Munaluchi, we are all about celebrating love- past, present and future. So we are proud to bring you Throwback Thursdays, in which we will look to the past, and highlight the weddings and relationships of some of our favorite couples of color.
This week we are honoring Jackie and Rachel Robinson. With the recent release of the biographical movie 42, there has been a resurgence of interest in the struggles and triumphs of Jackie Robinson, the first African American to integrate Major League Baseball in 1947. However, Jackie’s wife Rachel is phenomenal in her own right. Mrs. Robinson has had a successful career as a researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, a director of nursing for a mental health center and an assistant professor at the Yale School of Nursing. After Jackie Robinson’s untimely death in 1972 from a heart attack at the age of 53, Mrs. Robinson was determined to keep her husband’s legacy of courage and dignity in the forefront of our minds. She did so by creating the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which has given numerous scholarships to minority youth. Read on to learn how their love blossomed!
How They Met!
Rachel Robinson, first noticed Jackie Robinson when she attended a football game as a student at UCLA. However, she wasn’t immediately impressed. In a 2008 interview with UCLA Today 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.” Later a mutual friend and fellow football player Ray Bartlett, introduced them at Kerckhoff Hall, where African-American students hung out during their free time. Of their first encounter she recalls, “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.” They announced their engagement early on, but the couple waited five years to get married, because Mrs. Robinson wanted to finish college first, and as she puts it, “[Jackie] had to get a job before I married him.” : ) However, the time they spent dating before they got married was invaluable. In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated Mrs. Robinson shared, “Jack and I had known each other for five years before we got married. That was extremely important because we trusted each other and it helped us to bond during that time. There was such an incredible amount of pressure; it might have driven two people apart. But it had the opposite effect on us, it pushed us together.”
Their Wedding and Marriage
Finally on Feb. 10, 1946, Jackie and Rachel were married at the Independent Church in Los Angeles, California. Their friend Reverend Karl Downs of Texas performed the ceremony. A week later they headed out on their honeymoon to Daytona Beach, Fla., where Jack was to begin spring training. 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.” Mr. and Mrs. Robinson, endured much throughout their marriage, including death threats; however, they vowed that their home would a haven for them and their three children. In an interview in 1962, Mr. Robinson said, “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. […] She has been a sweet wife and a loving mother to our three children.
Timeless Words of Love
Before Jackie Robinson passed on, he shared some insight on his relationship with Mrs. Robinson. In a column he pinned in February 1962, Mr. Robinson shared this about Rae, his nickname for Mrs. Robinson, “Thinking about Rae always makes me want to remind girls and women how important they are in making the world go round. It’s an old saying — but a true one — that behind every successful man there is usually a woman who deserves much credit for his success.” In the book I Never Had It Made: An Autobiography of Jackie Robinson, Robinson shares “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. […] we can honestly say that each of us has stood at the center of the other’s existence; that we have honored and loved each other; that we have never broken our marriage contract and that we wouldn’t trade a day of it — not the sorrows or joys — for all the gold in the world.” Mr. and Mrs. Robinson are truly an inspiration.
Rachel Robinson’s Wedding Look
We love the simplicity and demureness of Mrs. Robinson’s A-line, satin wedding dress. Her floor length dress featured long selves, and a high neckline. Her tiara sits nicely in her pompadour hairstyle, which was very popular during the 40s. Many popular stars have taken the pompadour on including Teyonah Parris, Alicia Keys, Ashanti, and most notably Janelle Monae.
1940’s wedding style was simplistic, a departure from the expensive, intricate, and luxurious lace and silk designs of the 1920’s and 30’s. This was due impart to World War II. Resources and fabrics were rationed as a result of the war, and it became financially unreasonable as well as a social faux pas to spend money on expensive clothes. According to www.linenlaceandlove.com, “Many brides sought simplicity, and unfussy home weddings became all the rage due to little time and little money.” Today, many brides are buying wedding dresses that feature sleeves and the simple, yet sophisticated lines of the 1940’s. If you love Mrs. Robinson’s wedding look here are some gowns with a current take on the 1940’s design. We love this lace and satin look from Elie Sabb for Pronovias on the left, and this Marchesa A-line gown.
For more modern versions of Rachel Robinson’s long-sleeved, A-line dress, take a look at Bride Magazine’s feature on Long Sleeve Dresses from the Fall 2013 Bridal Runway Shows http://www.brides.com/wedding-dresses-style/wedding-dresses/2013/03/wedding-dresses-long-sleeves-trends-2013-fall#slide=12.Photocredits: Images of Jackie and Rachel Robinson: Getty Images, Rachel Robinson Teyonah Parris: FayesVision / WENN Alicia Keys: Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection Ashanti: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images North America Janelle Monae: Covergirl