November 30, 2005

Joann Robinson and E.D. Nixon

Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of Rosa Parks' staying seated on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus. Since her death, journalists should have had a chance to absorb some of the lesser-known details of her life and the boycott. In particular, I hope that the commemorations honor the contributions of Joann (JoAnn?) Gibson Robinson and Edgar Daniel Nixon. Robinson was a teacher at Alabama State College and head at the time of the Women's Political Council and had been a victim of city bus drivers before. Nixon was a labor leader and head of the state Voters League and NAACP. Nixon advised the Women's Political Council in their preplanning for a boycott, and it was the WPC who decided not to start the boycott when other women had been arrested on city buses earlier in 1955.

I'd love to have been a fly on the wall when the ministers were meeting that day when Nixon and Robinson convinced them to lead a long-term organization: All right, these women and E.D. say we need a leader. Martin, you're going to be our leader, because you've only been here a short time, and it'll cost the rest of us dearly if we have to escape town. I know that's not precisely what happened, but I also know the myth's not quite right, either.

Robinson did write a memoir in the 1980s. Does anyone know if and where she's living today? She was born in 1912 and would be in her 90s.

See the MLK Papers online entries for Robinson and the boycott

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Posted in History on November 30, 2005 10:07 AM |