As remembered by Dr. Tara Y. White
April 25, 2011
Biographical Sketch for Mrs. Lucinda B. Robey
By Dr. Tara Y. White
Mrs. Lucinda Thelma Brown Robey (1910-1975) was a local educator, civic leader and civil rights activist. Born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1910, Robey grew up in the Titusville community. After graduating from high school in 1929, Robey became an elementary school teacher in rural Covington County, Alabama while pursuing a degree at the historically black State Teachers College in Montgomery. She left Covington County in 1935 and returned to Birmingham to work as an adult education teacher with the Birmingham Public Schools. In 1941, Robey graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in education from State Teachers College. Robey did graduate work at the George Peabody College in Nashville and Florida State University in Tallahassee.
Robey's exceptional education career spanned more than four decades, which included experience as a classroom teacher and as a principal. She served as principal of Inglenook Elementary, Dudley School, Forty-Second Street School, and Moore School in Birmingham. In 1956, she was elected "Teacher of the Year" by a panel of leading citizens in Birmingham for her leadership, excellence, and commitment to education. Later, she was selected "Principal of the Year" by the Birmingham Progressive Education Association for the 1967-68 school year.
A lifelong civil rights activist, Robey was a steadfast member of the Birmingham branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She was the youth director for the branch and later became NAACP youth director for the state of Alabama. She helped to establish youth councils around the state and advised youth chapters at Miles College and in the Titusville community. In June 1956, Robey became a founding member of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR), and the only woman listed on the organization's charter. Her fearlessness and bravery earned her the respect of her male minister colleagues of the ACMHR, and inspired other female movement workers. In addition to working as a key movement strategist, she also served as youth director and organist for many of the nightly mass meetings.
She exemplified leadership in community organizations, and her affiliations were impressive. Robey was a former chairperson of the black Eighth Avenue YWCA and co-chair of the public relations committee for the Community Chest in Birmingham. She also served as chair of her local delegation to the Alabama State Teacher's Association, the professional organization for the state's black teachers, and as a board member of the Birmingham Negro Teachers Association. Robey, a former basileus of the Birmingham chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, also served her sorority as regional marshal and national board member.
Lucinda Robey was a steadfast, active Baptist woman until the end of her life. She succumbed to a heart attack during the meeting of the National Baptist Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress in Birmingham in 1975. Upon her death, church leaders, civic leaders, educators and civil rights activists from around the country celebrated her leadership, public service, and commitment to civil rights activism.
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