Information

Frances Robinson


Frances Robinson was born in 1907. After leaving college she found work as a secretary with the Radio Corporation of America. A member of the Democratic Party she worked as a volunteer stenographer at Democratic headquarters in New York City during the 1932 Presidential Election.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt selected Hugh S. Johnson to be head of the National Recovery Administration (NRA). Someone suggested that Robinson should become Johnson's secretary. John Kennedy Ohl, the author of Hugh S. Johnson and the New Deal (1985), has pointed out: "Although a devout Catholic, at twenty-six she was no schoolgirl. She was pert, auburn-haired, and experienced at flattery and strong language. A superb secretary, she was unshockable by Johnson. She had drive and ambition and moved quickly to make herself important by taking hold of Johnson's affairs. Within days, she seemed to be everywhere - attending meetings with Johnson, guarding the door to his office, giving orders to fellow NRA workers.... Smartly dressed, and with a bejeweled blue eagle at her throat, she frequently played hostess to important NRA visitors." Johnson told Frances Perkins that "every man should have a Robbie."

Robinson became increasingly important to Johnson and became known as his "one-woman brain trust". Johnson acknowledged this change in role by changing her job title from secretary to administrative assistant and increased her salary three times in 1933. Next to Johnson and she was now the third highest-paid employee of the NRA, receiving a salary of $5,780.

In her book, The Roosevelt I Knew (1946), Frances Perkins claimed: "People began to realize that if you wanted to get something done, you got to know Miss Robinson, you got on the good side of Miss Robinson." Some of Johnson's senior officials began to resent her influence. Donald R. Richberg constantly complained about her presence at private meetings. On one occasion they two had a stand-up row and afterwards Richberg told Henry Morgenthau, that it was one of the worst experiences of his life.

In November 1933, Hugh S. Johnson and Robinson visited Dallas, Texas. They shocked local officials by reserving a whole hotel floor for themselves and lounging around together in their night clothes. It was now clear that they were having a sexual relationship. When she heard about what was going on Helen Johnson visited Washington. Perkins recalled: "She came because she heard about Miss Robinson... She heard that Miss Robinson had possessed the General, was telling him what to do... and that everybody was snickering when Miss Robinson went somewhere with him." Johnson attempted to solve the problem of giving his wife and unpaid job on the Consumers' Advisory Board.

Senator Lester J. Dickinson of Iowa managed to discover that Robinson was earning four times that of most government secretaries. When Johnson was asked to justify Robinson's salary, he laughed and replied, "I think that was one below the belt." He then added that she was paid so much because she was much more than a secretary. The following morning the newspapers had photographs of Robinson with the caption: "more than a secretary".

Time Magazine declared that Hugh S. Johnson was the "Man of the Year". The magazine praised him for his hard work in codifying industry. It also indicated that Johnson's personal life was causing concern and suggested that he was having a sexual relationship with Robinson. It used a picture of Robinson standing slightly behind a seated Johnson and whispering into his ear. The article also pointed out that Miss Robinson "works for $5,780" whereas Mrs Johnson "works for nothing."

Within the NRA many officials resented the power of Frances Robinson. One official reported to Adolf Berle that as many as half of the men in the agency were in danger of resigning "because of the affair between Johnson and Robby". Journalists were investigating the relationship and several of Johnson's colleagues, including Frances Perkins, Donald Richberg, Henry Morgenthau, Rex Tugwell, Harry Hopkins and Henry Wallace told President Franklin D. Roosevelt that Johnson should be sacked.

Hugh S. Johnson also made a speech on the future of the NRA. He said it needed to be scaled back. Johnson added that Louis Brandeis, a member of the Supreme Court, agreed with him: "During the whole intense experience I have been in constant touch with that old counselor, Judge Louis Brandeis. As you know, he thinks that anything that is too big is bound to be wrong. He thinks NRA is too big, and I agree with him." Brandeis quickly told Roosevelt that this was not true. It also implied that Brandeis had prejudged NRA even before the Supreme Court had ruled on the NRA's constitutionality.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt decided that Johnson must now resign. He was unable to do it himself and asked Bernard Baruch to do it for him. Baruch contacted Johnson and bluntly told him he must go. He later recalled that "Johnson kicked up a bit" but he made it clear that he had no choice. "When the Captain wants your resignation you better resign." On 24th September, 1934, Johnson submitted his resignation.

In October 1934 Johnson opened an office in Washington and let businessmen know he was available to advise them in their dealings with the NRA. With the help of Frances Robinson he worked on writing his autobiography. He wrote at a frantic rate and in one week he averaged 6,000 words a day. The book, The Blue Eagle from Egg to Earth, was published the following year. It overstated Johnson's role in the great events in which he was a participant. Donald Richberg was so repelled by Johnson's boasting he remarked that the book might better be entitled, The Blue Eagle from Egg to Egomania.

On 8th March, 1935, Johnson signed a contract with the Scripps-Howard group of newspapers to write 500 words of comment on current affairs six days of the week. Despite the $25,000 he received for his newspaper column and the fees for speeches, he was always in debt. In the autumn of 1935 Bernard Baruch had to provide him with a $15,000 loan to save his Long Island property from foreclosure.

Frances Robinson remained with Johnson and helped him write his column and managed his business affairs. According to the author of Hugh S. Johnson and the New Deal (1985): Johnson's son, Pat, thought she was a con artist who was milking Johnson of his earnings; he did not believe she was needed. But out of concern for Johnson's emotional peace, he kept his opinion to himself. Johnson liked to think that Pat and Robbie got along well, and Pat, knowing that Johnson would not tolerate any criticism of her, never confronted his father with their friction."

In November 1941, Johnson was forced to enter the Walter Reed Hospital for a kidney ailment compounded by influenza and cirrhosis of the liver. Frances Robinson stayed with him and while he was ill she wrote some of his newspaper articles for him. Roosevelt sent a get-well note at Christmas. "You must get back among us very soon, for there is work for all of our fighting men to do." Johnson commented to his son Pat that "the son of a bitch doesn't really mean it. He knows I'll never leave here." Hugh Samuel Johnson died on 15th April, 1942.

Although a devout Catholic, at twenty-six she was no schoolgirl. Within days, she seemed to be everywhere - attending meetings with Johnson, guarding the door to his office, giving orders to fellow NRA workers. She was becoming a power in NRA.


EU Orders Google to Let Users Erase Past

Frances Robinson

Sam Schechner

Amir Mizroch

Europe's top court ruled that Google Inc. can be forced to erase links to content about individuals on the Web, a surprise decision that could disrupt search-engine operators and shift the balance between online privacy and free speech across Europe.

Under Tuesday's ruling—which doesn't trigger any specific new enforcement, but sets a strong legal precedent across the European Union—individuals can request that search engines remove links to news articles, court judgments and other documents in search results for their name. National authorities can force the search engines to comply if they judge there isn't a sufficient public interest in the information, the court ruled.

The European Court of Justice's decision represents the strongest legal backing of what is often called the "right to be forgotten," a concept born out of 19th-century French and German legal protections that once permitted honor-based dueling—but remains unfamiliar to most Americans.

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Ten Infamous Islands of Exile

Patmos, Greece
A tiny, mountainous speck in the Aegean Sea, the 13-square-mile island of Patmos is where, according to Christian tradition, St. John was exiled in A.D. 95 after being persecuted for his faith by the Romans and where he wrote his Gospel and the Book of Revelation. Ten centuries later, in 1088, a monk built a monastery on the island dedicated to the saint. This established Patmos as a pilgrimage site and a center of Greek Orthodox learning, which it remains to this day. In 1999, Unesco declared the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian—along with the Cave of the Apocalypse, where St. John is said to have received his revelations from God, and the nearby medieval settlement of Chora—a World Heritage site. Unesco stated: “There are few other places in the world where religious ceremonies that date back to the early Christian times are still being practiced unchanged.”

Sado Island, Japan
With its dramatic mountains, lush forests and temperate climate, Sado Island is now a popular retreat. But in medieval times, the island, 32 miles west of Niigata Prefecture in the Sea of Japan, was a place of banishment for those who had fallen out of favor with the rulers of the day. More than 70 people—notably aristocrats and artists—were exiled here, beginning in A.D. 722 with the poet Asomioyu Hozumi, who criticized the emperor. Other exiles included the Emperor Juntoku, who attempted a coup against the Kamakura shogunate in 1220, and the monk Nichiren in 1271, who preached a radical form of Buddhism. Today, many attribute the island’s eclectic population and cultural riches—Sado has more than 30 Noh stages and is known as the “Island of Performing Arts”—to the presence of these early exiles.

Île Sainte-Marguerite, France
Just off the coast of Cannes in the Mediterranean Sea, the small, forested island of Sainte-Marguerite—about two miles long and a half-mile wide—was home to one of history’s most enigmatic prisoners. The convict, whose identity was concealed behind what was most likely a black velvet mask, was brought to the island in 1687, during the reign of Louis XIV, and locked up in the Royal Fort, then a state prison. (His barren cell can still be seen.) Later, he was moved to the Bastille, where he died in 1703 at around age 45.

The prisoner’s identity and the reason for his incarceration are still not known. But over the centuries, they have been the subjects of much speculation. One popular theory, that he was an older brother of Louis XIV, became the basis for Alexander Dumas’ classic tale The Man in the Iron Mask.

The Royal Fort continued to be used as a prison until the 20th century. Today it houses the Musée de la Mer, devoted to marine archaeology.

Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile
In 1704, British privateer Alexander Selkirk was marooned on Isla Más a Tierra in the Pacific after quarreling with the captain of his ship, the Cinque Ports. He lived alone on the rugged 29-square-mile island, 418 miles off Valparaiso, Chile, for more than four years, subsisting on fish, lobster, goats and seals, until he was rescued by a passing ship in February 1709. Woodes Rogers, the captain, described Selkirk upon rescue as “a man Cloth’d in Goat-Skins, who look’d wilder than the first Owners of them.” Selkirk’s ordeal is believed to have been the inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe, published in 1719.

The Chilean government renamed Isla Más a Tierra to Robinson Crusoe Island in 1966, in hopes of attracting tourism.

Devil’s Island, French Guiana
History’s most notorious penal colony, Devil’s Island actually consisted of several prisons, one on the mainland near the capital, Cayenne, and three offshore, reserved for the most dangerous offenders: Isle Royale, Isle St. Joseph and tiny Devil’s Island. Napoleon III established the penal colony in 1854, and some 80,000 French convicts—criminals, spies and political prisoners—would be sent there before it officially closed in 1938. While there, most of the convicts were assigned to hard labor, either in timber camps or on the construction of a road prisoners called “Route Zero,” which was nothing more than a make-work project. The penal colony was also known as the “Dry Guillotine,” owing to the high mortality rate from disease, harsh working conditions and hunger. (Prisoners who failed to meet daily work quotas in the timber camps were denied food.) An estimated 50,000 inmates died.

The most famous of several well-known prisoners was Capt. Alfred Dreyfus, who, wrongly convicted of treason, spent four and a half years there in solitary confinement, from 1895 to 1899. Another was Henri Charrière, whose 1968 memoir, Papillon, recounting his escape, became a best seller and a major motion picture.

In the mid-1960s, Devil’s Island, by then abandoned and overgrown, got new life when the French government chose French Guiana as the location for its space center. The space agency purchased the three offshore islands, which were under the launch trajectory, and in the 1980s decided to preserve many of the prison buildings as a cultural heritage site.

Located seven miles offshore of Cape Town across wind-whipped Table Bay, Robben Island has been a place of exile for most of the past 400 years. (Hoberman Collection/Corbis) Some 300 prisoners—hardened criminals and political dissidents—were incarcerated in the Galapagos Islands under extremely harsh conditions. (Danita Delimont / Alamy) The most famous of several well-known prisoners of Devil's Island was Capt. Alfred Dreyfus, who, wrongly convicted of treason, spent four and a half years there in solitary confinement, from 1895 to 1899. (Danita Delimont / Alamy) Named Isla de Alcatraces (Island of Pelicans) by an early Spanish explorer, the small, rocky island in the middle of San Francisco Bay was the site of one of the United States’ most feared prisons (Matt Campbell/epa/Corbis) Alexander Selkirk’s ordeal on this Pacific island is believed to have been the inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe, published in 1719. (Wolfgang Kaehler/CORBIS)

St. Helena
Located in the middle of the South Atlantic, 1,200 miles from Angola and 1,800 miles from Brazil, the island of St. Helena is among the most remote places on earth. This detail was not lost on the British, who sent Napoleon into exile here following his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The general and his 26-person entourage were lodged at Longwood House, the six-room former summer residence of the island’s lieutenant general. Napoleon passed the time reading, gardening and dictating his memoirs. He was free to go wherever he wanted on the property, but had to be accompanied by a guard for outside excursions. Napoleon died on St. Helena in 1821 at age 51.

Today, the rocky, 47-square-mile island (pop. 4,250) is a British Overseas Territory and is still accessible only by water.

Coiba Island, Panama
Fifteen miles off Panama’s Pacific coast and surrounded by shark-infested waters, 122,000-acre Isla Coiba is the country’s largest island. First inhabited by Cacique Indians and later pirates, it was established in 1919 as a penal colony for Panama’s most dangerous criminals. Political dissidents were sent there under the military dictatorships of Omar Torrijos and Manuel Noriega. Human-rights groups frequently reported on the harsh conditions of the penal colony, including incidents of torture and murder. One former inmate, Panamanian journalist Leopoldo Aragón, recalled that prisoners were forced to run a gauntlet, chased by guards beating them with clubs. The penal colony was shut down in 2004.

Since the island was never developed, it boasts vast tracts of virgin tropical rainforest, mangrove swamps, pristine beaches and species found nowhere else in the world. Isla Coiba is also among the last places in Panama where scarlet macaws and crested eagles still exist in the wild. In 2005, Coiba National Park—which includes the island, 37 smaller islands and the waters surrounding them—was designated a Unesco World Heritage site.

Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
Between 1946 and 1959, the Ecuadorean government used 1,790-square-mile Isabela, the largest island in the Galápagos chain, as an agriculture and penal colony. Some 300 prisoners—hardened criminals and political dissidents—were incarcerated there under extremely harsh conditions. Guards ordered them to build a wall out of lava rocks brought from a distant crater—a wall that served no purpose. A number of prisoners, slaving under the hot equatorial sun, are thought to have died during its construction. Today the wall is all that remains of the penal colony and is known as the Muro de las Lagrimas, the Wall of Tears.

Robben Island, South Africa
Located seven miles offshore of Cape Town across wind-whipped Table Bay, Robben Island has been a place of exile for most of the past 400 years. It was used as a prison by the early Dutch and British, as a leper colony and mental hospital between 1846 and 1931, and as a political prison for non-white opponents of the apartheid regime from 1960 to 1991. Many well-known dissidents—Nelson Mandela, Robert Sobukwe and current South African President Jacob Zuma, among them—were incarcerated here under brutal conditions, enduring beatings, harassment and forced labor in the island’s lime quarries.

In 1997, the 1,447-acre island became a museum, with guided tours provided by former political inmates, and today it’s among the most popular tourist destinations in Cape Town.

Alcatraz, San Francisco, California
Named Isla de Alcatraces (Island of Pelicans) by an early Spanish explorer, the small, rocky island in the middle of San Francisco Bay was the site of one of the United States’ most feared prisons. From the day it opened in 1934, “The Rock” was a prison’s prison, receiving other penitentiary’s most incorrigible and dangerous inmates. No criminal was ever sentenced directly to Alcatraz. A total of 1,545 people were incarcerated there in its nearly three decades of operation, including Al Capone Doc Barker, of the Ma Barker gang Robert Stroud, a.k.a. the “Birdman of Alcatraz” and George “Machine Gun” Kelly. As the prison was 1½ miles offshore and surrounded by frigid waters with treacherous currents, escape attempts were few. Of the 34 people who tried, most were recaptured or killed. Five, however, have never been accounted for and are listed as “missing and presumed drowned.”

Alcatraz closed in 1963 because of high operating costs. During the rest of the decade, Native Americans occupied the island twice, claiming their right to it under an 1868 treaty. The second occupation ended in 1971 with their removal by federal marshals. In 1972, Alcatraz became part of the new Golden Gate National Recreation Area and today receives more than a million visitors a year.

Editor's Note, August 11, 2010: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that St. John wrote the Book of Revelations. He wrote the Book of Revelation. Thanks to our many commenters for identifying the error.


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ROBINSON Family History

In Ireland, Robinson is only really common in Ulster. It is thought that the Robinsons of Glenarm may have originally been Robertsons. The two names had been used interchangeably in some areas of the province around the beginning of the 20th century. Robinson, the compound word, is a rare given name, while its derivative, Robin, has the distinction of being both a masculine and feminine given name.

Robinson (Variants: Robison, Robbinson, Robeson, Robinshaw) The son of Robin, or Robert. In Northern English: patronymic from the personal name Robin, a diminutive of the French name Robert, which was popular in Normandy. It originated from the Old German name of Rodbert, derived from &lsquohroth&rsquo which means &lsquofame&rsquo and &lsquoberht&rsquo meaning &lsquobright&rsquo. A representation of the surname would be a parental wish for the child&rsquos &lsquofame-bright&rsquo future.

The earliest appearance of Robinson in the records is John Robynson who was listed in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefied for 1324. Another early bearer of the surname was Katerina Robinson in 1540, IGI (Sutterton, Lincs). Also from the same county, Wolf Robinson, carver and gilder, 1893 in UK Jewish Directory (Boston, Lincs).

In 1891, the general population was widespread across England and Wales with 103,211 occurrences and a further 1,000 in Scotland. Lincolnshire was a top county with 3,965 occurrences and was a top surname in Anderby and Alkborough districts. Further south in the county of Kent there were 1,798 occurrences.

In 1881, Farmer was the most common occupation, along with Coal Miner and Agricultural Labourer as the top 3 reported jobs worked by Robinson. The most common Robinson occupation in the UK was Farmer. A less common occupation for the Robinson family was Labourer.

David Robinson OBE (1927-2017), A British journalist, author and teacher. He had a degree in Geography and an MSc in which he wrote a thesis on the coastal evolution of northeast Lincolnshire. David went on to become resident tutor of the University of Nottinghamshire for North Lincolnshire. He also served editorial roles with &lsquoLincolnshire Life&rsquo and &lsquoNatural World&rsquo magazine. He was awarded an OBE for services to journalism and the community of Lincolnshire. In 2007 with a collection of papers on historical and geographical themes, titled &ldquoAll Things Lincolnshire: An Anthology in Honour of David Robinson&rdquo.

1881 Census in Lincolnshire

Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003

Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890

The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016

1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain

1857 Arthur, William An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain

Tell us about any famous ROBINSON (or surname variant) you think we should add here. We will get our genealogists to check them out and add them to the list. Thanks!


The Original Black Panthers Fought in the 761st Tank Battalion During WWII

In October of 1944, the 761st tank battalion�me the first African American tank squad to see combat in World War II. And, by the end of the war, the Black Panthers had fought their way further east than nearly every other unit from the United States, receiving 391 decorations for heroism. They fought in France and Belgium, and were one of the first American battalions to meet the Russian Army in Austria. They also broke through Nazi Germany’s Siegfried line, allowing General George S. Patton‘s troops to enter Germany.  

During the war, the 761st participated in four major Allied campaigns including the Battle of the Bulge, the last major German World War II campaign on the Western Front. Germany’s defeat in this battle is widely credited with turning the tide of the war towards an Allied victory. 

The Black Panther logo for the 761st Tank Battalion. (Credit: Army Heraldry)

Although the U.S. military would remain heavily segregated until 1948, men of all races around the country volunteered for service when Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941. Black enlistees were generally diverted to segregated units and divisions, mostly in combat support roles. However, there were units of African American soldiers—like World War II’s Tuskegee Airmen and the 761st Tank Battalion—that played significant roles in military operations.

The 761st commanding officer, Lt. Colonel Paul L. Bates, was well aware of the prevalent racist attitudes towards Black soldiers, and so he pushed the battalion to achieve excellence. The 761st Tank Battalion was formed in the spring of 1942 and according to Army historical records, had 30 Black officers, six white officers, and 676 enlisted men. One of those 36 officers was baseball star Jackie Robinson, who never saw the European theater due to his refusal to give up his seat on a military bus and subsequent court battle.

This majority-Black military unit was known by the nickname 𠇋lack Panthers” in reference to the the panther patches they wore on their uniforms. Whether the name or the patch—which sported the slogan 𠇌ome Out Fighting”�me first is anyone’s guess. (Some have speculated they received the moniker because they were using German Panzer-kampf-wagens, aka Panther tanks. However records indicate that the 761st used Sherman and Stuart tanks).

In 1944, the 761st was assigned to General George S. Patton’s Third Army in France. Patton was well known for his colorful personality and upon meeting the troops, exclaimed:

“Men, you’re the first Negro tankers to ever fight in the American Army. I would never have asked for you if you weren’t good. I have nothing but the best in my Army. I don’t care what color you are as long as you go up there and kill those Kraut sons of bitches. Everyone has their eyes on you and is expecting great things from you… Don’t let them down and damn you, don’t let me down!”

By all accounts, they didn’t. Starting on November 7, 1944, the 761st Battalion served for over 183 consecutive days under General Patton. By comparison, most analogous units at the front line only served one or two weeks. During the Battle of the Bulge, the 761st was up against the troops of the 13th SS Panzer Division, but by January 1945, the German forces had retreated and abandoned the road, which had been a supply corridor for the Nazi army. By the end of the Battle of The Bulge, three officers and 31 enlisted men of the 761st had been killed in action.

In May 1945, the Black Panthers were part of the Allied forces who liberated Gunskirchen, a subcamp of the Mauthausen concentration camp. One woman liberated by the unit, 17-year old Sonia Schreiber Weitz, described the soldier who saved her in the poem, “The Black Messiah”:

A Black GI stood by the door
(I never saw a Black before)

He’ll set me free before I die,
I thought, he must be the Messiah

After the war the Army awarded the unit with four campaign ribbons. In addition, the men of the 761st received a total of 11 Silver Stars, 69 Bronze Stars and about 300 Purple Hearts. Back at home, though, the surviving members of the 761st returned from Europe to a still-segregated nation. Texas native Staff Sgt. Floyd Dade Jr. described the contradictions for Black soldiers coming back to the United States in an oral history, saying “we didn’t have equal rights�mocracy was against us. I was just fighting for my country.”

General George S. Patton, U.S. Third Army commander, pinning the Silver Star on Private Ernest A. Jenkins of New York City for his conspicuous gallantry in the liberation of Chateaudun, France, 1944.

When Staff Sgt. Johnnie Stevens attempted to catch a bus home to New Jersey from Georgia’s Fort Benning, the bus driver refused to let him board. Jackie Robinson, whose charges for refusing to give up his seat on the military bus were eventually dropped, later noted that men of the 761st had died fighting for a country where they didn’t have equal rights.

As the years passed, the achievements of the Black Panthers began to receive more recognition. In 1978, the 761st received a Presidential Unit Citation, which recognizes units that 𠇍isplay such gallantry, determination, and esprit de corps in accomplishing [their] mission under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions as to set [them] apart from and above other units in the same campaign.”

In 1997, President Bill Clinton posthumously presented the Medal of Honor to seven men who had served in the battalion. “No African American who deserved the Medal of Honor for his service in World War II received it,” Clinton noted.

“Today we fill the gap in that picture and give a group of heroes, who also love peace but adapted themselves to war, the tribute that has always been their due,” Clinton continued. “Now and forever, the truth will be known about these African Americans who gave so much that the rest of us might be free.”


Tips for Researching This Time Period

North Carolina A&T State University is an 1890 Second Morrill Land-Grant Act public university located in Greensboro, North Carolina.

NAME CHANGES TO REMEMBER: In our earliest years, sometimes press articles would alter or incorrectly state the names of the college. The correct name is in bold, and alternative phrasings are listed to help with research.

1891 - 1915 - Agricultural and Mechanical College for the Colored Race - ["A. and M. College for the Colored Race", "A&M College For the Colored Race", "Colored A. and M. College of Greensboro", "North Carolina A. and M. College at Greensboro", "The Greensboro A. and M. College".] *PLEASE NOTE: "A. and M. College" was also the name for what is now NC State University in Raleigh It was also referred to as the "A. and M. College at Raleigh".

1915 - 1957 - Negro Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina - [A. and T. College, A & T. College, A&T College of North Carolina]

FOUNDING DATE: March 9, 1891

Rev. Dr. John Oliver Crosby, Ph.D (1892 - 1896)

Dr. James Benson Dudley (1896 - 1925)


Frances Robinson - History

Napoleon's Account of the Internal Situation
of France in 1804

J. H. Robinson, ed.,
Readings in European History
2 vols. (Boston: Ginn, 1906), 2:491-4.

Hanover Historical Texts Project
Scanned by Brooke Harris, October 1996.
Proofread by Angela Rubenstein, February 1997.
Proofread and pages added by Jonathan Perry, March 2001.

Robinson's Note: [Page 491] Five years after Bonaparte had become the head of the French government he sums up the general situation in France in a statement which he laid before the Legislative Body, December 31, 1804.

The internal situation of France is today as calm as it has ever been in the most peaceful periods. There is no agitation to disturb the public tranquillity, no suggestion of those crimes which recall the Revolution. Everywhere useful enterprises are in progress, and the general improvements, both public and private, attest the universal confidence and sense of security. . . .

A plot conceived by an implacable government was about to replunge France into the abyss of civil war and anarchy. The discovery of this horrible crime stirred all France profoundly, and anxieties that had scarcely been calmed again awoke. Experience has taught that a divided power in the state is impotent and at odds with itself. It was generally felt that if power was delegated for short periods only it was so uncertain as to discourage any prolonged undertakings or wide-reaching plans. If vested in an individual for life, it would lapse with him, and after him would prove a source of anarchy and discord. It was clearly seen that for a great nation the only salvation lies in hereditary [Page 492] power, which can alone assure a continuous political life which may endure for generations, even for centuries.

The Senate, as was proper, served as the organ through which this general apprehension found expression. The necessity of hereditary power in a state as vast as France had long been perceived by the First Consul. He had endeavored in vain to avoid this conclusion but the public solicitude and the hopes of our enemies emphasized the importance of his task, and he realized that his death might ruin his whole work. Under such circumstances, and with such a pressure of public opinion, there was no alternative left to the First Consul. He resolved, therefore, to accept for himself, and two of his brothers after him, the burden imposed by the exigencies of the situation.

After prolonged consideration, repeated conferences with the members of the Senate, discussion in the councils, and the suggestions of the most prudent advisers, a series of provisions was drawn up which regulate the succession to the imperial throne. These provisions were decreed by a senatus consultus of the 28th Floreal last. The French people, by a free and independent expression, then manifested its desire that the imperial dignity should pass down in a direct line through the legitimate or adopted descendants of Napoleon Bonaparte, or through the legitimate descendants of Joseph Bonaparte, or of Louis Bonaparte.

From this moment Napoleon was, by the most unquestionable of titles, emperor of the French. No other act was necessary to sanction his right and consecrate his authority. But he wished to restore in France the ancient forms and recall those institutions which divinity itself seems to have inspired. He wished to impress the seal of religion itself upon the opening of his reign. The head of the Church, in order to give the French a striking proof of his paternal affection, consented to officiate at this august ceremony. What deep and enduring impressions did this leave on the mind of Napoleon and in the memory of the nation! What thoughts for future races! What a subject of wonder for all Europe!

[Page 493] In the midst of this pomp, and under the eye of the Eternal, Napoleon pronounced the inviolable oath which assures the integrity of the empire, the security of property, the perpetuity of institutions, the respect for law, and the happiness of the nation. The oath of Napoleon shall be forever the terror of the enemies of France. If our borders are attacked, it will be repeated at the head of our armies, and our frontiers shall never more fear foreign invasion.

The principles safeguarded by the coronation oath are those of our legislation. Hereafter there will be fewer laws to submit to the Legislative Body. The civil code has fulfilled the expectations of the public all citizens are acquainted with it it serves as their guide in their various transactions, and is everywhere lauded as a benefaction. A draft of a criminal code has been completed for two years and has been subjected to the criticism of the courts at this moment it is being discussed for the last time by the council of state. The code of procedure and the commercial code are still where they were a year ago, for pressing cares have diverted the emperor's attention elsewhere.

New schools are being opened, and inspectors have been appointed to see that the instruction does not degenerate into vain and sterile examinations. The lycees and the secondary schools are filling with youth eager for instruction. The polytechnic school is peopling our arsenals, ports, and factories with useful citizens. Prizes have been established in various branches of science, letters, and arts, and in the period of ten years fixed by his Majesty for the award of these prizes there can be no doubt that French genius will produce works of distinction.

The emperor's decrees have reestablished commerce on the left bank of the Rhine. Our manufacturers are improving, although the mercenaries subsidized by the British government vaunt, in their empty declamations, her foreign trade and her precarious resources scattered about the seas and in the Indies, while they describe our shops as deserted and our artisans as dying of hunger. In spite of this, our [Page 494] industries are striking root in our own soil and are driving English commerce far from our shores. Our products now equal theirs and will soon compete with them in all the markets of the world.

Religion has resumed its sway, but exhibits itself only in acts of humanity. Adhering to a wise policy of toleration, the ministers of different sects who worship the same God do themselves honor by their mutual respect and their rivalry confines itself to emulation in virtue. Such is our situation at home.


What Was the Role of the Jacobins in the French Revolution?

The Jacobins served as the primary promoters of republicanism during the French Revolution, and they passed various reforms to promote equality and personal freedom during their brief control of France. However, they ushered in the Reign of Terror, a period of time when the Jacobins sought out and executed anyone whose political beliefs differed even slightly from their own.

The Jacobins were formally known as the Society of the Friends of the Constitution. The club was originally founded by Breton representatives to the Estates General of 1789, but it eventually expanded beyond Brittany until there were chapter houses throughout France. The name Jacobin comes the fact that they met in Paris in a Dominican monastery the monks of this order were also called Jacobins because their first house was on the Rue St. Jacques.

The Society of the Friends of the Constitution did not call for the end of the monarchy, but they did manage to become a major force in the National Convention. Eventually they staged a coup, and in 1793, the leader of the Jacobins, Maximilien Robespierre, came to dominate the new French Republic. While he initially passed a number of laws to help the common people of France, such as fixing prices to battle inflation, he soon began persecuting anyone with beliefs he deemed to be counterrevolutionary. He initially targeted supporters of the monarchy, merchants, and other dissenters, but soon even other Jacobins who disagreed only slightly with Robespierre were executed by guillotine.

Eventually, the other Jacobins turned on Robespierre, who was then executed in turn. However, without their organization binding them together, the Jacobins soon lost power to members of the bourgeoisie. Many Jacobin reforms were soon undone, but their strong support for liberty and equality continued to influence later political groups in the French Republic.


Compare the Two Versions of Sojourner Truth's “Ain’t I a Woman” Speech

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Below are the two main written versions of Sojourner’s speech, the original, on the left, was delivered at the Woman's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio on May 29, 1851. The full text of each speech follows the synopsis below so you can see the differences line by line. I have highlighted overt similarities between the two versions. While Frances Gage changed most of the wording and added the southern slave dialect to her 1863 version, it is clear the origin of Gage's speech comes from Sojourner's original 1851 speech. It is interesting to note that Marius Robinson and Sojourner Truth were good friends and it was noted that he and she went over his transcription of her speech before he published it. One could infer from this pre printing meeting, that even if he did not capture every word she said, that she must have blessed his transcription and given permission to print her speech in the Anti-Slavery Bugle.

The oldest account of Truth's speech that provides more than a passing mention of it was by published by Marius Robinson on June 21, 1851 in the Salem Anti-Slavery Bugle, a few weeks after the speech was given. This version was not the first published account of the Akron speech, but rather the first attempt to convey what Sojourner Truth said in full.

The most common yet inaccurate rendering of Truth's speech—the one that introduced the famous phrase "Ar'n't I a woman?"—was constructed by Frances Dana Gage, nearly twelve years after the speech was given by Sojourner at the Akron conference. Gage's version first appeared in the New York Independent on April 23, 1863.


The Tour de France Was Obsessed With Germs Long Before the Pandemic

Defending Tour de France champion Egan Bernal, in white jersey, during the second stage of the Criterium du Dauphine on Aug. 13.

Joshua Robinson

When the world suddenly learned this year that it needed to use hand sanitizer all of the time, one group of skinny men in Lycra already knew the drill. Tour de France cyclists had been fretting about hand-washing and microbes for years.

To protect their immune systems over a grueling three-week bike race, they had long ago done away with touchy-feely greetings and embraced the merits of self-quarantine at the first sign of a sniffle. Doing well at the Tour de France was too important to take any risks. What riders didn’t realize was how ready they would be for 2020’s Tour de Pandemic.

“We were all germaphobes before,” said American rider Tejay van Garderen, of Team EF Education First. “In the Covid era, it’s like that on steroids.”

With the Tour due to begin on Saturday, even as cases rise again in France, the sanitary protocols for teams and riders have never been more important—even if there are no guarantees the race will reach the finish line in Paris on Sept. 20.

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