04:06 AM EDT 12/22/2014
Originally posted 04/19/2013 06:30PM
When a friend told UCLA freshman Rachel Isum she had to meet a popular jock named Jackie Robinson, she said, "I'm not interested," she recalls. "I thought he'd be arrogant." But she decided to test the waters anyway. "When I met Jack, he was so humble, so thoughtful – and handsome," she says. "I thought, 'I'm glad I was wrong!' "
The couple began a five-year courtship, finally wedding on Feb. 10, 1946. "We always said we'd get married once Jack got a job," says Rachel. "And then one day Branch Rickey called Jack."
The then-president of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Rickey was committed to breaking the race barrier in Major League Baseball – and he was convinced Robinson was the perfect man to do it: talented enough to win the respect of fans and players; strong enough to withstand the inevitable firestorm that would ensue.
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