Remembering Betty Garman Robinson (b.1939-d. 2020)

UB Special Collections & Archives is deeply saddened by the loss of Betty Garman Robinson, a civil rights activist and Baltimore community organizer. Betty passed away this past weekend at the age of 81. We remember her life, her work, and her continuing legacy.

Betty Garman Robinson (b. 1939 – d. 2020)

Betty Garman Robinson was an active community organizer who contributed to many social justice groups, nonprofits, and community organizations in Baltimore and elsewhere throughout her life. During the Civil Rights Movement, she worked with the National Student Association, and later Betty was a staff member with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Mississippi and Georgia.

Betty moved to Baltimore in the early 1970s. During her public health career in Baltimore, Betty worked in occupational health and public health research. In 1997, she returned to community organizing as the Lead Organizer for the Citizens Planning and Housing Association (CPHA) until 2003. Betty was awarded a 2003 Open Society Institute Baltimore Community Fellowship in order to work with local community groups and to teach the history of community organizing in Baltimore in a course entitled “History and Vision of Baltimore Social Justice and Organizing” at the Sojourner Douglass College in 2005. 

UB Professor Joshua Davis, Judy Richardson and Betty Garman Robinson at an event at UB in 2018. (Photo provided by Joshua Davis)

Over the past few years Betty has collaborated with many of us in the University of Baltimore community by speaking at events, sharing her experiences, and teaching new generations about advocacy, social justice, and community organizing. She worked with UB Professor Joshua Davis in a number of his history courses, collaborated with Angela Koukoui and the JEDI Series creators just a few weeks ago at the first UB JEDI Series event, and donated a collection of her papers to the UB Special Collections & Archives. 

In 2019, Betty’s archival collection was arranged and described by processing archivist Laura Bell, and over the summer of 2020 a number of folders from the collection were digitized and made accessible through the finding aid online. Her papers at UB Special Collections & Archives focus on her work in the Baltimore community. Those who worked with Betty, or worked with her archival collection, know that she had much to teach us.

Her contributions and her impact have no limit to those who continue to learn from her life and work.

We hope you will enjoy learning more about Betty and her work through the resources below.
If you browse the finding aid for the Betty Garman Robinson Papers, you will find selected digitized folders.

At UB Special Collections & Archives:

Other Online Resources:

6 Replies to “Remembering Betty Garman Robinson (b.1939-d. 2020)”

  1. Very nice tribute to Mrs. Robinson. I had the pleasure of meeting her via Zoom through my professor, Dr. Davis just six weeks ago. I found her to be very passionate about her work and it was intriguing to listen to her accounts of her timer with SNCC. I am glad I had the pleasure of meeting this civil rights activist and legend.

  2. She was my beloved sister-in-law, Betty, whom I shall always look up to and be inspired by. I am in Rochester, NY, and trying to do Civil Rights work here.

    • I met Betty as while doing a Fellowship with JHU sponsored by CPHA. She was a great mentor and friend. She will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure to be in her company.Beautiful spirit. Prayers to the Family.

  3. I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Robinson twice. The first time I met her was in February 2018, when she came for an event on women in the Civil Rights movement. The second time I met her was for How SNCC Made John Lewis: A Discussion with Civil Rights Veterans. During both events, she took time to answer questions from people who asked her questions. For that reason, she is always going to be one of my favorite guest speakers that UB has had during my time as a student at the University of Baltimore.

  4. Betty was one of my mentors years ago. She guided my through my Fellowship from JHU and CPHA for Leadership and Community Building. We also had many general conversations on how to make the world a better place. She will be greatly missed by those she came in contact with. Prayers to the family.

  5. From my work with her at CPHA and Progressive Maryland, I knew Betty to be as committed, as smart, and as wise an activist and organizer as I will ever know. She lived a remarkable life that had real impact on the communities she touched. The record and writings that she left behind will help to inform and inspire others for many years to come.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *