From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Robinson, James H., Sr.

(born: 1887  -  died: 1963) 

James Hathaway Robinson, Sr. was born in Sharpsburg, KY, the son of Nathaniel and Martha Robinson. He moved to Cincinnati, OH in 1915 to teach sixth grade at the Douglass School.

Robinson was a World War I veteran. He became  the Executive Secretary of the Negro Civic Welfare Association, which sponsored African American social work for the City of Cincinnati. He was also author of a number of publications, including the "Cincinnati Negro Survey" (later called "The Negro in Cincinnati"), published by the National Conference of Social Work in 1919; and "Social Agencies and Race Relations," a printed address in the Proceedings of the National Inter-Racial Conference (1925).

Robinson attended Fisk University, earning his A.B. in 1911. He earned a second A.B. degree in 1912, an M.A. in 1914, and then pursued his Ph.D. in sociology, all at Yale University. He was the first African American to receive a fellowship at Yale University, the Larned Fellowship in 1913. He  also studied sociology and social service at the graduate level at Columbia University from 1914-1915.

Robinson was a member of several organizations, including Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and was the only African American member of the National Council of the American Association of Social Workers.

Robinson was married to Neola E. Woodson, a  graduate of the University of Cincinnati and a member of the newly formed Zeta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta in 1920. She was a school teacher in Cincinnati and at Covington High School in Kentucky.

For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1927; River Jordan, by J. W. Trotter, Jr.; Race and the city: work, community, and protest in Cincinnati, 1820-1970, by H. L. Taylor;  Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, by W. P. Dabney; Phillip J. Obermiller, "Pioneers Among Their People: James Hathaway Robinson and Michael Eamon Maloney," 2/22/2016, at the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition website; "James Hathaway Robinson" at the Prabook website; and Joe William Trotter, Jr., River Jordan: African American Urban Life in the Ohio Valley, University Press of Kentucky, 1998.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Bath County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Sharpsburg, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Robinson, James H., Sr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 3, 2023,

Last modified: 2022-08-26 16:06:33