By Stacy M. Brown | The Washington Informer
(WIN) – Randall Robinson, a lawyer, novelist, activist and founder of the District-based TransAfrica, has died.
Robinson, 81, reportedly had been hospitalized with a serious infection.
He died on March 24 in St. Kitts, the Caribbean Island for which he left the United States in 2001.
In a Facebook post, Anike Robinson paid tribute to her father.
“My father was an artist. He was a photographer and often did mini set designs. My mother, brother and I were the models,” she wrote. “My father liked to make his images timeless, outfitting us in period clothing he’d saved.”
She expressed being grateful that Robinson painted and sketched and allowed her to watch as he built furniture and practiced his craft.
“Daddy was the first artist I studied, worked alongside and learned the power of tools,” Robinson, who is also an artist, continued. “He made many beautiful things. He helped make three children. I am his firstborn and yesterday my dad died. I feel weird.”
A fierce anti-apartheid warrior, Robinson was the brother of the late trailblazing journalist Max Robinson, who died in 1988.
Among the human and civil rights undertakings of Randall Robinson were his advocacy of Haitian immigration, and for having been a supporter of former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
He said he left America for St. Kitts after growing frustrated by American society.
Born July 6, 1941, in Richmond, Virginia, Robinson’s parents were teachers Doris Robinson Griffin and Maxie Cleveland Robinson.
He earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a bachelor’s from Virginia Union University.
Robinson is survived by his two sisters, actress Jewel Robinson and pastor Jean Robinson.
In addition to Anike, Robinson’s other children are Jabari Robinson and Khalea Ross Robinson.
According to an online obituary, Robinson practiced civil rights law in Boston from 1971 to 1975 before working for U.S. Congressman Bill Clay and acting as Congressman Charles Diggs’ administrative assistant.
In 1977, Robinson founded the TransAfrica Forum, which serves as a major research, educational, and organizing institution for the African American community.
The forum offers constructive analysis concerning U.S. policy as it affects Africa and the African Diaspora (African Americans and West Indians who can trace their ancestry back to the dispersion of Africans that occurred because of the Transatlantic slave trade) in the Caribbean and Latin America, according to the organization’s mission statement, is one of the goals of the organization.
Robinson once explained his position that large reparations should be given to African Americans as a means of ending years of de jure and de facto tyranny and discrimination against the community in “The Debt: What America Owes To Blacks,” published in 2001.
The book makes the case for the implementation of lineage-based reparation programs to address persistent social and economic issues in the African American community, such as the high rate of Black people who are incarcerated and the disparity in cumulative wealth between black and white Americans.
In 2003, Robinson turned down an honorary degree from the Georgetown University Law Center, and later lectured at Penn State University’s Dickinson School of Law.
“We would talk fairly frequently back in the day,” Our House DC Editor Austin Cooper stated in an email.
“He was always very gracious when I called to interview him. He was interesting, smart, and principled.”
Washington Informer journalist Barrington Salmon remembered Robinson as a “good man.”
“A decent man, a warrior, and a race man,” Salmon stated. “He will be missed.”