The HonoreeIn 1931, two years after the start of the Great Depression, John C. Robinson co-founded Robbins Airport, America’s first Black airport. During its short life, the airport created its own legacy, including being the site where ten of the original Tuskegee Airmen learned to fly.
In April 1935, when Italy attacked Ethiopia, Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie wired an official invitation to Robinson offering him an officer's commission in the fledging Ethiopian Air Force. Robinson accepted and was later named the commander of the Air Force and played a role in the foundation of Ethiopian Airlines. Because of his work and influence in aviation, Robinson is often considered the Father of the Tuskegee Airmen and the Father of Ethiopian Airlines.
Robbins, IllinoisThe village of Robbins was incorporated in 1917 and named for Henry E. Robbins, a White real estate developer who laid out the village's early subdivisions. The village, as small towns are called in Illinois, “was a place for recently arrived southern Blacks who wanted to maintain a rural lifestyle, but be close enough to the jobs in Chicago,” says Tyrone Haymore, historian/curator of the Robbins History Museum.
One of Robbins' most famous resident’s home, that of entrepreneur S.B. Fuller, is being preserved for a museum. Other noted persons from this small village include Nichelle Nichols, Dwyane Wade, Keke Palmer, and Mr. T, and is home of the nation’s first Black airport.