Jo Ann Robinson
Jo Ann Robinson was a civil rights activist and educator. Even though she wasn’t known as well as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks. Jo Ann Robinson was the most involved individual in planning and promulgating the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. She was constantly active in the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) likewise the Women’s Political Council (WPC). Jo Ann Robinson said, ” People the world over should know that any group, if given equal opportunity in education, employment, civil rights, and the like, can be desirable citizens anywhere, with as much to offer as any other group.” Robinson died on August 29, 1992. She will forever be remembered as the “Heroine Of The Montgomery Bus Boycott.”
Jo Ann Robinson was born on April 17, 1912, in Culloden, Georgia. She was originally born with the name Jo Ann Gibson Robinson. She was the twelfth child of Owen Boston Gibson and Dollie Webb Gibson, who were farmers. After her father’s death, at age six Jo Ann and her family moved to Macon. Jo Ann became valedictorian of her high school graduating class. She then became the first college graduate in her family when she earned her bachelor’s degree at Fort Valley State College in 1934. When she officially graduated from Fort Valley State, Robinson became a public school teacher. In the late 1940s, she began to experience the bigotry underlying racial segregation.
Robinson then became president of the Women’s Political Council (WPC) and turned her focus to the organization’s intentions on desegregating buses. The WPC involved professional women that worked in the areas of wrongdoing and voter registration to improve the ranking of African-Americans in the city. Robinson made many efforts to change segregation in her community. On December 5, 1955, Robinson gave out flyers that she had written to push Montgomery African Americans to boycott all city buses. Robinson had been arrested and targeted with violence. Police officers continued to taunt her by throwing rocks into her window and also pouring acid onto her car.
Jo Ann Robinson is often overlooked as a hero for her involvement in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. In 1987, she published her memoir entitled The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Woman Who Started It. In her memoir, she wrote: “An oppressed but brave people, whose pride and dignity rose to the occasion, conquered fear, and faced whatever perils had to be confronted. The boycott was the most beautiful memory that all of us who participated will carry our final resting place.” She was active on mostly every level of the protests more than any person.