Insight News

Sunday
Dec 21st

A tribute to Ray Robinson

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By Rhonda Groll

My dad, Ray Robinson, was born in Texas in 1920. He grew up during the Great Depression; experienced racism; experienced the development and growth of what is now the modern automobile; lived under the oppression of Jim Crow laws and segregation; proudly served his country in World War II; traveled the world as a Pullman Porter; played shortstop in the Minor Leagues of the Negro Baseball League; married the love of his life, my mother; put two daughters through private school
Here's a picture of my Dad and his "boys" that was taken on his 88th birthday, January 5, 2008.

My dad, Ray Robinson, was born in Texas in 1920. He grew up during the Great Depression; experienced racism; experienced the development and growth of what is now the modern automobile; lived under the oppression of Jim Crow laws and segregation; proudly served his country in World War II; traveled the world as a Pullman Porter; played shortstop in the Minor Leagues of the Negro Baseball League; married the love of his life, my mother; put two daughters through private school – one who has been in banking for close to thirty years and is currently a bank Vice President in California, and the other with a career in healthcare; worked at the Chicago post office for thirty-three years; worked as a runner at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (stock market); taught us the importance of an education; and instilled in us the value of treating people the way we would want to be treated.

My dad has mentored young Black men, some of whom have gone on to be quite successful – one is an entrepreneur, a professor, and is on the board of major corporations; others have gone on to become responsible family men. After retiring from the post office and retiring to Texas where he built my mother another home, he joined the local newspapers and became a guest sports writer. He worked with the City Council in his community to set up a conservation program. After relocating to Minnesota after the birth of his second grandson, my dad, never one to sit idle, worked for more than five years at Target as a greeter and in asset protection. He thought it was time to retire, but after taking one month off, he was back working, this time at Sam's Club. That's where you can find him. At least for now.

Keeping him company through it all has been his sports and his music. I grew up listening to the sportscaster say "play ball" while listening to baseball on the radio. I learned the music of Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Oscar Peterson, Cole Porter, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Illinois Jacquet; and that's just to name a few!

Through it all he showed himself to be a strong, proud, Black man. My dad is the most wonderful man I know and I want him to know it. I tell him how much I love him. Now I want the world to know.

He is the proud "G man" to my two sons, his grandchildren. He is leaving a legacy for them.
 

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