J. W. Robinson (1927-2008)
J. W. Robinson historic preservation in the Sweet Auburn and Martin Luther King Jr. historic districts of Atlanta, and he was a charter member of the National Organization of Minority Architects.
Joseph W. Robinson was born on November 25, 1927, in Hartsville, South Carolina, to Mary Robinson Frazier and Jasper Robinson, and he attended public schools in Georgetown, South Carolina. He graduated from Hampton Institute in Virginia in 1949 with a bachelor of science degree in architecture, and in that same year, attracted by post-World War II (1941-45) opportunities, he moved to Atlanta, where he studied at Atlanta University (later Clark Atlanta University). Denied employment in his chosen field of architecture because of segregation, Robinson became a public school teacher. During his fifteen-year tenure at Booker T. Washington High School (1953-68) he introduced such new subjects as descriptive geometry and inspired his students to enter the field of architecture.
In addition to teaching, Robinson developed a practice in residential architecture, helping to reshape
Among the Robinson firm's achievements were many public projects, such as the swimming pool at Grant Park and a municipal garage; community centers, Clark Atlanta University, and the John H. Lewis Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Building at Morris Brown College). Robinson's large body of work also includes several Atlanta churches, libraries, and banks, and his clients included such large corporations as BellSouth (later AT&T), Delta Air Lines, and the Atlanta Life Insurance Company.
Robinson's leadership MARTA station at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, as well as the Ashby Street MARTA station. For the airport project, a group of African American architects formed the Minority Airport Architects and Planners, with Robinson as president. The organization included Leon Allain, William McDuffie, and Louis Fry. In 1992 Robinson designed the C. B. King U.S. Federal Courthouse in Albany. (Named for prominent civil rights attorney C. B. King, the courthouse was completed in 2002.)
Robinson's leadership among African American architects included an early interest in preserving places Morton Theatre in Athens.
Robinson was married to Willie Louise Robinson and had three children: Joseph W. Jr., Jeffrey L., and Janice. In May 2007 his son Jeffrey became the president of J. W. Robinson & Associates, Inc., and his son Joseph W. Jr. became the company's construction administration manager.
Robinson died in Atlanta at the age of eighty on September 14, 2008. His legacy includes not only his many buildings but also the younger architects he inspired and encouraged throughout his career.
Media Gallery: J. W. Robinson (1927-2008)