Randall Robinson, a human rights activist and lawyer recognized for his advocacy in opposition to South African apartheid and for Haitian democracy, died Friday at age 81. He died in St. Kitts, the Caribbean island the place he spent the final twenty years of his life, of aspiration pneumonia.
“He was an unimaginable father,” mentioned Khalea Ross Robinson, his daughter, who confirmed his loss of life to NPR on Sunday. “He did loads on behalf of individuals he hadn’t even met.”
Robinson was one of many leaders of the Free South Africa Motion, which started within the Eighties and pushed to finish apartheid. He “led a spread of overseas coverage campaigns in his life-long advocacy in protection of democracy and justice in Africa and the Caribbean,” a press launch from Robinson’s household says.
Robinson based the Washington, D.C.-based overseas coverage advocacy group TransAfrica in 1977 to advertise “range and fairness within the overseas coverage area and justice for the African World” together with the African diaspora, in response to the group’s mission assertion. He served because the president of the group till 2001.
Throughout his time at TransAfrica, he organized a sit-in on the South African embassy to foyer in opposition to apartheid and went on a 27-day starvation strike to stress the U.S. authorities to reinstate the democratically elected authorities of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, amongst many different actions. He was additionally a number one voice advocating for reparations for Black People.
He was born in Richmond, Va., in 1941, and attributed his activism later in life to his experiences of segregation.
“The insult of segregation was searing and unforgettable,” he mentioned in a 2005 interview with The Progressive Journal. He mentioned becoming a member of the social justice motion was “salvaging. All of us should die, and I most well-liked to have only one loss of life. It appears to me that to undergo insult with out response is to die many deaths.”
Earlier than founding TransAfrica and turning into recognized for his political activism, he earned a J.D. at Harvard Regulation College and labored as a civil rights legal professional in Boston. He served as a professor of human rights regulation at Penn State College and wrote a number of books.
In 2001, Robinson left the USA to settle in St. Kitts within the Caribbean, together with his spouse, Hazel Ross-Robinson. In one among his books, he explains that he left the U.S. for a spot that he thought of extra peaceable and hospitable to Black individuals.
“I by no means believed my place was essentially bodily in America,” he advised NPR in 2004. “I’m as a lot a Nigerian, a Haitian, a South African, a Kittitian, a Jamaican as I’m an American. There should not be these partitions between the individuals of the Black world. I’ve lived that and I’ve dedicated myself to that in all the things that I’ve carried out all through my life.”
A funeral service might be held in St. Kitts in April, and a memorial service might be held in Washington, D.C., in Could, in response to the household.