Jennie Smith (1863-1940)
"The Mother of Robbins"
Entrepreneur and Community Organizer
The matriarch of one of the families that helped turn Unincorporated, Bremen Township into what is now known as Robbins, IL. She was instrumental in building the first 2 churches (Union Missionary Baptist and Bethel AME), helped build the first fire station and purchase the first fire truck; owned and operated a boarding house in "The Bottoms" that housed black men who dug out the Cal-Sag river; and built several homes in the village, some of which still stands today.
James Harvey (1845-1945)
The last black Civil War soldier in the United States moved to Robbins, IL in 1892. He was born 1845 died in the village in 1945 at the age of 100. His son,W M Harvey, was one of the founding fathers of Robbins in 1917. A historic headstone now rest on his grave site at historic Lincoln Cemetery in Blue Island, IL.
Janet Harmon Bragg (1907-1993)
Janet was one of the 4 aviators that built and operated the first black owned airport in the United States, The Robbins IL Airport in 1931. The airport had ground, air and mechanical aviation training classes taught by John C. Robinson (1903-1954) and Cornelius R. Coffey (1903-1992)
John C. Robinson (1903-1954)
This Tuskegee Institute graduate was a founder of the Robbins, IL Airport and one of the first to introduce an aviation program to his alma mater. He integrated the prestigious Curtiss-Wright aviation school in Chicago and went on, at the request of Haile Selassie I, to help Ethiopia fight against fascism in the second Italo-Ethiopian War. He was known as the Brown Condor. Robinson return to Chicago to a heros welcome by thousands of New Yorkers and Chicagoans.
Cornelius R. Coffey (1903-1994)
Along with Robinson, opened the first black owned and operated airport in Robbins, IL.
Thyrl Latting (1932-2013)
A black cowboy with national and international, horses and cow Rodeos shows for many years. All started from Robbins, IL., his birth home and site of his first Ranch Estate.
Marcus Garvey (1887-1940)
This pan africanist leader spent a significant amount of time in Robbins, IL in the early 1920's, setting up a chapter of the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and engaging with the all-black led town. His administrative office was located on the second floor of a building located on Claire Blvd. He worked closely with community organizers and staunch supporters such as Elinor White (speech writer) and Edward Brown (who was the president of the Robbins Chapter).