Skip to main content

Remembering
Matthew
“MACK”
Robinson

Pasadena City College Invites You to Join Us

In Honoring the 100th Birthday of

Matthew "Mack" Robinson

July 18, 1914
Silver Medalist, 1936 Olympics, Berlin
Alumnus of PCC

Reception Friday, July 18, 2014
5pm - 7pm

Creveling Lounge


1570 E. Colorado Blvd., 91106
Parking Available at Colorado Blvd, and Hill Avenue

For more information, contact: 626.585 7250

In today's world of multimillion dollar contracts, appearance fees, and endorsements, it's easy to forget what many world-class athletes had to endure, even at the peak of their careers, not so long ago. For an African-American track star in the 1930's, there were no riches or lasting fame.

According to Matthew "Mack" Robinson, running came "naturally." From 1936 through 1938, few few people in the entire world could run faster or jump farther. One of the greatest track and field athletes of his time, Robinson's accomplishments have been somewhat obscured by those of Jesse Owens and Mack's younger brother, Jackie.

Mack, a track at Pasadena Junior(now City) College, set national junior college records in the 100 meters, 200 meters, and long jump. He also qualified for the US Olympic team in the 200 meters in 1936, beating out the 1932 Olympic gold medalist for a spot on the squad. With no coaching, and running in the same pair of spikes he had run in all spring and summer, Mack chased Owens to a world record in the 200 meters at the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin, running a 21.1 to Owens' 20.7 and winning the silver medal. Both runners eclipsed the previous Olympic record in the event.

Mack went on to attend the University of Oregon, where he won collegiate and Amateur Athletic Union titles; however, helping to support his family soon became his top priority. He went to work for the City of Pasadena, often wearing his Olympic sweatshirt as he swept city streets. For decades he worked a variety of city jobs, and later in life, led the fight against street crime in Pasadena.

Mack Robinson passed away in 2000, leaving behind a wife, eight children, 25 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren, as well as a lifetime of service and dedication to the City of Pasadena — dedication the city not forget. The Pasadena Robinson Memorial, honor Mack and Jackie, was dedicated in 1997, and Pasadena City College named its stadium for the brothers as well. The US Congress also named a Pasadena post office for Matthew "Mack" Robinson.