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

Robinson, John Wallace

(born: 1870  -  died: 1941) 

John Wallace Robinson, born in Shelbyville, KY, was pastor and founder of Christ Community Church of Harlem and pastor of St. Mark's Methodist Episcopal Church, both in New York City. He led the building of a new facility for St. Mark's congregation, "Cathedral of Negro Methodism," which cost $500,000.

Robinson was a graduate of Indiana University and Gammon Theological Seminary. He started preaching in 1894, serving as a minister in Chicago before moving on to New York City in 1923. Robinson was also a civil rights activist: he fought for a federal anti-lynching bill.

In 1935 he represented Negro ministers as a member of Mayor LaGardia's investigation committee that was formed in response to the riot in Harlem on March 19, 1935, which included the police shooting death of 16-year old Lloyd Hobbs, an African American. Countee Cullen and A. Philip Randolph were also on the committee.

For more see "Dr. J. W. Robinson, retired pastor, 70," New York Times, 11/28/1941, p. 23. For more about the riot, see Race, Space, and Riots in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, by J. L. Abu-Lughod.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Shelby County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Shelbyville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Cullen, Countee LeRoy
NKAA Source: The New York times (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Race, space, and riots in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles

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“Robinson, John Wallace,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 24, 2024,

Last modified: 2020-11-02 18:01:44