“Marvin was one of the leaders of the college student sit-in movement,” claimed the Rev. Peter Johnson, another Dallas civil legal rights leader. “It’s a remarkable loss in the civil rights motion. … The technology of African American leaders in the civil legal rights movement is rapidly leaving this earth.”
Marvin E. Robinson, who arranged civil rights fights all through the South during the 1960s in front of beginning to be an advocate for Black business leadership and fairness in Dallas, has passed on at 86. Robinson died in his snooze Saturday at his Dallas dwelling. Born in Decatur, Alabama, Robinson experienced childhood in Gary, Indiana, and went to Southern University, Louisiana’s biggest historically black university, in Baton Rouge, as a track athlete. He was chosen leader of the student government, and in 1960 coordinated organize sit-ins at isolated meal counters and a march on the Louisiana State Capitol.
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His sit-in sparked similar events in New Orleans, leading to a 1963 United States Supreme Court ruling that broke up restaurants in the state.
The protests had Robinson arrested for disturbing the peace and expelling him from college, 28 days before graduation.
Johnson, who was a teenager in Baton Rouge at the time, said his father helped raise funds to get Robinson and several other students out of prison.
“Marvin was a tremendous advocate for civil and equal rights,” said longtime friend Billy Allen. “You had absolutely no worries that Marvin wasn’t going to fight to give his best. He was going to represent the African American community to the best of his ability. “
After leaving Baton Rouge, Robinson attended Howard University Law School and was a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which worked to organize civil rights protests in the South in the 1960s. He was also a field director for the Racial Equality Congress, where he continued to organize anti-segregation efforts in the Jim Crow South.
Johnson and Leah Robinson-Leach, Robinson’s daughter, said he also participated in the 1961 Freedom Rides, where integrated groups of students traveled by bus across the South to protest the separate bus stations.
“He would tell us about it, but at the end of the day he was just a dad,” said Robinson-Leach. Robinson received a law degree from Howard in 1968 and moved to Dallas a few years later, where he helped form networking groups for young black professionals in the city. He continued to use his leadership positions to fight systemic racism.
“He’s spent his entire life trying to bring equity and opportunity to people of color,” Allen said. “Marvin Robinson, to me, was a role model, a mentor.” In 1976, Robinson was commissioned to transform Dallas’ Crozier Technical High School into the city’s Magnet Business and Management High School, where he was the only black principal of such an institution. The students wore formal attire and were free to take regular coffee breaks, as they would in a corporate workplace.
Robinson later worked as an executive for the Xerox Corporation with a focus on improving the representation of minorities in the company. When he was a member of the Dallas Park board of directors in 1980, he led a campaign to disassociate a Dallas flower show from Fair Park due to all-white membership in local garden clubs. In 1983, he ran for a seat on the Dallas City Council, but lost in a runoff. A few years later, Robinson testified in a lawsuit regarding the council’s district voting system, claiming he was at a disadvantage as a candidate because of his race.
After leaving Xerox as vice president in 1985, he tried to start a Burger King franchise – but spoke out after no Dallas bank reportedly gave him an entrepreneurial loan despite his successful career at the company. . “The banks said I wasn’t qualified, but I was qualified to run Xerox,” Robinson said. The morning news from Dallas in 1988. “They do the same in country clubs.”
Robinson eventually opened the franchise and was president of a company that provided concessions to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Robinson-Leach said his father cares deeply for his family and enjoys traveling with his wife, Yvonne Metoyer Robinson, three children and six grandchildren. The family regularly took vacations to the Caribbean island of St. Martin and other international destinations. She said her dad had a great personality that made everyone feel like a close friend.
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