Randall Robinson, an anti-apartheid activist for the freedom of South Africa, has passed away, reports NPR. He was 81.
His family confirmed that he passed away in his adopted home of St. Kitts in the Caribbean of aspiration pneumonia. A funeral service will take place in St. Kitts in April, and a memorial service will be held in Washington, D.C., in May.
"He was an incredible father," Khalea Ross Robinson, his daughter, said in a statement. "He did a lot on behalf of people he hadn't even met."
Robinson was born in Richmond, Virginia on July 6, 1941, to Maxie Cleveland Robinson and Doris Robinson Griffin, who were both educators. Max Robinson, his elder brother, was an anchorman on ABC World News Tonight, where he became the first Black man to anchor a nightly network news broadcast.
He earned his undergraduate degree from Virginia Union University and earned a J.D. degree at Harvard Law School.
He launched his career in Boston as a civil rights attorney. He then went to work for U.S. Congressman Bill Clay in 1975 and became an administrative assistant to Congressman Charles Diggs in 1976.
After leaving the world of congressional politics, Robinson founded the TransAfrica Forum in 1977. The mission of the organization was to engage in "major research, educational and organizing institution for the African-American community, offering constructive analysis concerning U.S. policy as it affects Africa and the African Diaspora in the Caribbean and Latin America." He served as president of TransAfrica until his retirement in 2001.
Robinson played a pivotal role in the Free South Africa Movement as the nation fought against apartheid.
He also was a fierce critic of U.S. policy in Haiti, and he helped to expose the role of the U.S. in the coup that ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. In response to the coup, Robinson went on a 27-day hunger strike to force the U.S. to place Aristide back in power as the democratically elected president.
At Penn State University, he began teaching at the Dickinson School of Law in 2008.
In an interview, Robinson explained why he chose to make St. Kitts his home.
"I never believed my place was necessarily physically in America," he said. "I am as much a Nigerian, a Haitian, a South African, a Kittitian, a Jamaican as I am an American. There shouldn't be these partitions between the people of the Black world. I have lived that, and I have committed myself to that in everything that I've done throughout my life."
A prolific author, Robinson wrote several books including The Emancipation of Wakefield Clay: a novel, Defending the Spirit, The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks, The Reckoning: What Blacks Owe to Each Other, Quitting America: The Departure of a Black Man From His Native Land, and An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, From Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President,
We at EBONY extend our prayers and deepest condolences to the family and friends of Randall Robinson.