Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson

By Christa Noble

Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson was one of the leaders who influenced many during the Civil Rights Movement and still today. She was born in Atlanta, Georgia on April 25, 1942, and grew up in Atlanta’s Summerhill neighborhood. Her parents raised her and her seven siblings to be strong and independent by earning their wages off of black patronage, which was supported by the church. Their parents made them feel like it was normal to have their own race’s churches, schools, and social activities, so they did not feel like they were missing out on anything growing up.

Robinson attended Spelman College in 1959, which is one of the most prestigious historically black colleges in the United States. Spelman College was invaluable in the Civil Rights Movement because it hosted multiple conferences and meetings. While at Spelman, Ruby joined the Atlanta Student Movement after the sit-ins at the lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina.

During her involvement with the Atlanta Student Movement, she attended multiple sit-ins and was even arrested a few times. There were no specific details on which sit-ins she did attend, but there’s a chance the list includes the demonstrations at Rich’s Department store in Atlanta.

Insert quote here.Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson
Ruby also joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in hopes of making racial integration possible in Atlanta. She worked with Ella Baker, who was a Southern Christian Leadership Conference representative, to start up SNCC. While inSNCC, she was appointed to the assistant secretary position in the Atlanta office. In May of 1966, she replaced James Forman as SNCC’s executive secretary.

Robinson left her mark on the Civil Rights Movement, but her life was cut short. On October 7, 1967, she died from terminal cancer at the age of 25. She left her husband, Clifford Robinson, and only son Kenneth to carry on her legacy.