11:31 AM EDT 03/19/2015
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.
Top 5 Most Voted Stories
Kelly Rutherford Granted Sole Custody of Her 2 Children
Online Commenter Warned About Josh Duggar Molestation Accusations 8 Years Ago
Inside the 'Treatment' Josh Duggar Received After Reported Child Molestation
Sikh Man Who Removed Turban to Help Child Rewarded with an Extremely Sweet Surprise
Comedy Actress Anne Meara, Mother of Ben Stiller, Dies at 85
Top 10 News Categories
The most buzzed about stars this minute!
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
More On PEOPLE.com
Got a News Tip?
Send it to our People.com editors!