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Robert Pickens

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Information about Robert Pickens

Profile image of Robert Pickens

Profession

Category:
SportsMakers
Occupation(s):
Football Player
Wrestler

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Rice
Favorite Time of Year:
Winter
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
For Someone To Make You Feel Inferior, It Means That You Have Given Them The Liberty To Do That.

Birthplace

Born:
2/2/1943
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Profession

Category:
SportsMakers
Occupation(s):
Football Player
Wrestler

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Rice
Favorite Time of Year:
Winter
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
For Someone To Make You Feel Inferior, It Means That You Have Given Them The Liberty To Do That.

Birthplace

Born:
2/2/1943
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how Robert Pickens is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Robert James Pickens was born on February 2, 1943 to Sarah Wilson and Nathanial Pickens in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Evanston, Illinois. After graduating from Evanston Township High School in 1962, Pickens was the first African American to represent America in wrestling in the 1964 Olympics. He placed sixth in the Greco-Roman division.

Continuing his career in sports, Pickens played football as an offensive tackle for the Chicago Bears from 1967 to 1969. He earned a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1969 and then spent a year playing for the Edmonton Eskimos in the Canadian Football League while working as the Assistant Personnel Director for Foote, Cone and Belding-an advertising agency. In 1970, he began an 18-year career with Sears, Roebuck and Company in which he was eventually promoted to toy department buyer.

In 1988, Pickens left Sears to become the owner and managing director of Rainbow Classics, Inc., a Hong Kong-based trading company dealing in toys and sundry items. In 1991, Pickens became the president and owner of Merrill Associates, Ltd. and the construction coordinator for DJP Development and Consulting, a family-owned business. In addition to his professional duties, Pickens began serving as a Chicago Park District commissioner in 2000.

Pickens never left sports behind: he served as an official for the Big 10 Football Conference between 1976 and 1989, and co-founded a mentoring group of retired professional athletes called Team Up, Inc. in 1985. He held the position of national steering committee president of the National Football League Players Association and president of the National Football League Retired Players Association's Chicago Chapter and worked with youth through the Better Boys Foundation and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Pickens had two adult children, and married Judith Jamison in 2002.

Pickens passed away on April 12, 2018 at age 75.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Robert Pickens' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Robert Pickens lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Robert Pickens describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Robert Pickens describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Robert Pickens describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Robert Pickens describes his experience of his childhood home in Evanston, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Robert Pickens talks about his memorable school experiences at Evanston Township High School
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Robert Pickens describes his third grade teacher
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Robert Pickens describes his experience at Evanston Township High School
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Robert Pickens describes becoming interested in classical music at Evanston Township High School
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Robert Pickens describes his social life at Evanston Township High School
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Robert Pickens remembers his graduation day from Haven Junior High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Robert Pickens talks about his experience at University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Robert Pickens discusses his athletic experiences at University of Wisconsin in Madison
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Robert Pickens describes his experience in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Robert Pickens describes his experience in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Robert Pickens talks about some of his teammates from the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Robert Pickens describes his experience at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Robert Pickens describes his experience playing football for the University of Nebraska
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Robert Pickens recalls marrying his first wife, Doris Pickens
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Robert Pickens talks about his move from pro football to industry working at Sears, Roebuck and Company
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Robert Pickens reflects upon his marriages to Doris Pickens and Judith Jamison
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Robert Pickens describes Doris Pickens' community involvement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Robert Pickens describes his experience working at Foote, Cone and Belding and Sears, Roebuck, and Company
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Robert Pickens describes his experience at Sears, Roebuck and Company
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Robert Pickens describes his business in China with Rainbow Classics
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Robert Pickens talks about the importance of black dolls
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Robert Pickens talks about his business interests
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Robert Pickens describes his work as a Chicago Parks Commissioner
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Robert Pickens talks about his goals for the Parks District in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Robert Pickens talks about the National Football League Retired Players Association
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Robert Pickens talks about his work with the Better Boys Foundation
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Robert Pickens describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Robert Pickens reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Robert Pickens talks about his family
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Robert Pickens reflects upon the importance of studying African American history