Robbins' historic all-black, built,
owned, and operated AIRPORT
was built in 1931. Becoming the first black Airport in the U.S.A.
The S. B. Fuller home in Robbins, IL was graciously donated to the Robbins History Museum which offers much needed space to display and exhibit the rich history of the village. This mid-century modern structure is the perfect space to display our cultural heritage but it is currently uninhabitable due to years of neglect. We seek donations for repair and upgrades.
February, Black History Month, is a perfect time to promote this initiative while sharing Robbins rich history and promoting our growing collections. The goal is to raise $200,000.
Although any amount is welcomed, consider participating in the donation program outlined below:
If the donation is $500 or more, your name will be engraved on the rotunda wall in the center of the museum. The size of the name correlates with the donation amount.
All donations are 100%
Make Checks Payable to:
Robbins History Museum Project
P.O. Box 1561
Robbins, IL 60472
S.B. Fuller of Robbins, IL
America's first self-made black multi-millionaire who started with only a 6th grade education and $25 in his pocket.
Robbins History Museum
"The most historic black town in America"
What do Dwyane Wade, Lt. Uhura, Mr. T and actress Keke Palmer have in common?
They are all from Robbins, IL and all are featured in the Robbins, IL History Museum.
The 40 by 40 square foot facility opened in August 2010 by Co-Founder and
Director/Curator/Historian, Tyrone Haymore. Some of the museum’s unsung heroes
include pioneer aviators Cornelius R.Coffey and John C. Robinson who in 1931 in Robbins,IL built the first black owned/Operated airport in the U.S. The pair trained
pilots who later became Tuskegee Airmen, African-American aviators who fought in
World War II. Ten of the original Tuskegee Airmen who Coffey and Robinson trained,
are all from Robbins, IL. according to Haymore who also said “I was inspired by the
Robbins airport, this is what motivated me to create the Robbins Museum to tell the
true beginnings of the Tuskegee Airmen.”
Robbins, IL is the sixth oldest African-American community in the U.S. It was founded
in 1892 by former slaves and descendants of slaves when a group of mulatto families
found affordable and spacious farmland, southwest of Chicago, to avoid racial tensions within the city's borders. They later incorporated it in the State of Illinois and named it Robbins, IL on December 14,1917.
Actress Nichelle Nichols’ grandfather, Samuel G. Nichols, was one of the village’s
original settlers. She, who portrayed Lt. Uhura in the original Star Trek television show.
Nichelle was born in Robbins in a two-story frame house built by her grandfather. Her
father, Samuel E. Nichols, was the mayor of Robbins from 1929-31. In a phone inter-
view from her home in Los Angelos, Ms. Nichols shared the following:
“I remember the stories my father told me of Al Capone’s brothers and henchmen
who came to kill him because one of his police officers without him knowing it
raided one of Al Capone’s gin mills in Robbins, IL at the corner of 137th &
Nichols said she was honored to be included in the museum, which displays her original Lt. Uhura uniform and boots. Nichols said ironically she met some of the
Tuskegee Airmen in 1979 while serving as a special recruiter for NASA, helping the space agency to attract its first women and minority astronauts including Mae Jemison and Sally Ride. Other notable Robbins residents included in the museum: S.B. Fuller (the late multimillionaire businessman), Chris Hinton, Joe Montgomery, and Darrell Robinson (NFL football player). Delores Washington, who with Albertina Walker was a members of The Gospel Caravans. Robbins can also lay claim to two Olympic
Dwyane Wade Gold medal winner in 2008 in China in basketball and Willie May,
a 1960 Olympic silver medalist in track and field. Two Original Harlem Globetrotters
of Robbins are Lee Collins, and Fred Marberry who retired to Robbins,IL.
Black nationalist Marcus Garvey visited Robbins in the 1920's, to set up a chapter of his organization, the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). According to Haymore “He was so impressed that blacks were governing a town. He’d never heard of a town with all black elected officials.”
Operating the museum hasn’t been easy for Haymore, a retired CTA a bus driver and
clerk. Haymore said he provided most of the $20,000 used to open the facility. He
added, “We have been beaten down in almost everything in Robbins economically. One of our greatest assets is our culture and our history. There is no blacktown in America like Robbins.”