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Remus Robinson Papers

Identifier: UP000447

Scope and Content

The Remus Robinson Collection consists of correspondence, reports, speeches, clippings, minutes, and printed material related to Dr. Robinson’s career as a physician and as a member of the Detroit Board of Education. As a member of the school board, Dr. Robinson received weekly “informational volumes” containing news clippings, correspondence, reports and other material relating to the activities of the board; these volumes have been left intact and are filed chronologically.

Important subjects in the collection: Advisory Committee on Hospitals; Equal Educational Opportunities; African-American Health Issues; Medical and Hospital Study Committee; Civil Rights; Northern High School Incident in Decentralization of Detroit Public School in 1966; Desegregation of Detroit Public Schools; Racial Integration of Hospitals; Detroit Board of Education Election Campaigns; Sherrill School Parents vs. Board of Education

Important correspondents in the collection: Kenneth B. Babcock; Mildred Jeffrey; S. M. Brownell; Arthur L. Johnson; Lloyd Allen Cook; Damon J. Keith; Charles Diggs, Jr.; Frank J. Kelley; Norman Drachler; Roy Reuther; Clarence Hilberry; Walther Reuther


  • 1928 - 1970
  • Majority of material found within 1953 - 1970


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.


Remus Grant Robinson was born December 4, 1904 in Birmingham, Alabama. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1927 and with a medical degree in 1930.

He began his medical career as a surgeon in Detroit in 1934 and spent the rest of his career on the staffs of Grace and Providence Hospitals and as chief surgeon at Parkside Hospital. In 1961 the Detroit Medical Society honored Dr. Robinson for his contributions to the field of medicine by naming him physician of the year. Dr. Robinson also worked to integrate hospitals and medical and nursing schools, both to improve the quality of health care and to provide career opportunities in the health care professions for African Americans.

In 1953 Remus Robinson ran for a seat on the Detroit Board of Education, but was narrowly defeated. He won the seat two years later, the first African American to do so, and held it until his death in 1970, serving much of that time as president of the school board. As a board member, he worked to alleviate financial and overcrowding problems, while maintaining high educational standards. Despite often intense opposition, he continually supported the integration of the school system and equal educational opportunity for all of Detroit’s children.


17.5 Linear Feet ((16 SB, 1 MB, 1 OS), 1 scrapbook)


Dr. Robinson was the second black physician to receive advanced residency training in Detroit, and the first elected to the Detroit Board of Education (1955). He was prominent in the struggle for social justice in Detroit's public schools and hospitals. The bulk of the collection comprises correspondence, minutes, and a variety of printed material relating to his years on the Detroit Board of Education. Also included are correspondence and some campaign literature on his unsuccessful bid for a seat on the Board of Education in 1953 and the successful attempt in 1955. Major correspondents are Charles Diggs, Jr., Clarence Hilberry, Frank J. Kelly, and Roy Reuther. Subjects include: desegregation; Northern High School Incident of 1966; Sherrill School Parents vs. Board of Education


Folders are listed in the order in which they appear.


Box 18: Photographs and graphic materials was transferred to the audiovisual department.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Guide to the Remus Robinson Papers
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA