Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson

I have taken it upon myself to make the students of the Atlanta Student Movement more well known. In this blog, I will bring yet another student to the front of the Movement. I think that this is really important for the Atlanta Student Movement, because, a lot of the time, the students from the Atlanta Student Movement seem to be glossed over and there just does not seem to be enough credit given to the ones that were actually doing the work–the students. I think that the students are truly the most important aspect of the Movement and their names need to be known. So for this blog, I have decided to do some research on Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson.

There is a lot of information online about Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson, but interestingly, conforming to my whole point about the Atlanta Movement, there is almost no information about her specific involvement in the Atlanta Movement available to the common reader. There is just not a lot of information about the Atlanta Movement out there and we have to change that.

A portrait of Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson
A portrait of Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson from the public domain Source

In 1960, Smith-Robinson enrolled as a student at Spelman College in Atlanta. This is also when she became interested in the Atlanta Student Movement and the Civil Rights Movement in general. Sadly, Smith-Robinson lived only seven more years after joining the Movement. Smith-Robinson’s involvement was much bigger than just the Atlanta Movement, and she even participated in the Movements of other cities in the south, because she was very involved in SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson is known for her leading role in the SNCC. She is known for being “one of SNCC’s most powerful administrators.” According to a source, “No one in SNCC was tougher than Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson.” Her work with the SNCC dealt with dealt with being a leading activist for the group on the field and for her work “as an administrator in the Atlanta central office.”

A pensive and happy photo of Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson
A pensive and happy photo of Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson from the public domain Source

It is said that Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson participated in the Rich’s Sit-ins in Atlanta alongside the important people of the Movement that everyone knows. They targeted the Magnolia Room which was said to be segregated. In my class, it has been said that a soda can was thrown at her during the sit-in, but I could not find any evidence of this. I will have to come back to this issue at another time when I find out more information on her involvement in the sit-in. I cannot get over how sparse the information is online about her since she is said to have been tremendously involved in the movement and with SNCC. Smith-Robinson is also said to have been so very dedicated to the cause that she would picket and protest even if nobody joined her, but I could not find a source for this either.

In 1961, Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson went to Rock Hill, South Carolina to participate in their sit-ins. She worked alongside one of the more well-known SNCC leaders, Diane Nash. This is the Movement where they started and Smith-Robinson became famous for her role in the “Jail-No-Bail” sit-in tactic. Smith-Robinson and around 100 protesters stayed in jail for the 30-day jail sentences.

Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson is also known for being a Freedom Rider. In 1961, she started her activism work in the Freedom Rides. During the Summer Campaign of 1964, She was arrested in Jackson, Mississippi and served 45 days in Parchman Penitentiary according to a source.

According to a source, Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson married her husband Clifford Robinson in 1964. The next year, in 1965, their son was born. His name is Kenneth Toure Robinson. That same year, she graduated Spelman College with a bachelor’s degree in physical education.

In January of 1967, according to that same source, her health began to decline and she had to be hospitalized. She was diagnosed with terminal cancer by April of that year. Her death followed within that same year, and she died on October 9, 1967.

With such a short life, who would have thought that someone could do so much? Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson inspires me to stand up for what I believe in no matter what the cost. As a student, Smith-Robinson really puts into perspective what a student can do to be a leader within their community and among their peers. How do you feel about Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson? Does she inspire you at all? Did I miss anything about this amazing woman? Why are the student roles in the Atlanta Student Movement not published online like most of the other famous student activists? Any ideas? Feel free to leave me a comment in the comment section below or check out my contact page. Also, if you would like to learn more about me, feel free to visit my about page. Thank you for reading my blog and I really hope that you are enjoying these blog posts meant to bring the students to the front of the Atlanta Student Movement.

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