Civil Rights

Ruby Doris Smith Robinson

Ruby Doris Smith Robinson (1942-1967) was a prominent civil rights activist and leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during the 1960s. She played a vital role in the civil rights movement and was known for her commitment to nonviolent direct action and grassroots organizing.

Robinson was born on April 25, 1942, in Atlanta, Georgia. She grew up in a segregated community and witnessed the daily injustices faced by African Americans. Inspired by the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. and the sit-in movements of the early 1960s, Robinson became actively involved in the civil rights movement while studying at Spelman College.

The Smith sisters: Mary Ann, Ruby Doris, and Catherine, about 1966.

In 1961, Robinson joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which had been formed to coordinate student-led protests and activities. She quickly rose through the ranks and became a prominent leader within the organization. Robinson’s leadership skills and dedication to the cause earned her the respect and admiration of her peers.

As a leader of SNCC, Robinson played a pivotal role in organizing and participating in numerous protests, demonstrations, and voter registration drives in the Deep South. She was deeply committed to empowering African Americans and challenging racial segregation and discrimination. Robinson and other SNCC activists faced tremendous opposition, including physical violence and arrest, but they remained steadfast in their commitment to nonviolent resistance.

Ruby D. Smith With Freedom Riders, circa 1962

Tragically, Ruby Doris Smith Robinson passed away on October 7, 1967, at the age of 25 due to cancer. Her untimely death was a great loss to the civil rights movement, as she was a dynamic and influential leader. Robinson’s contributions and legacy continue to inspire activists fighting for social justice and equality.

It’s worth noting that Ruby Doris Smith Robinson is sometimes referred to as Ruby Doris Smith or Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson in various sources. However, she is most commonly known as Ruby Doris Smith Robinson.

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