June 22, 2021, Savannah, Georgia – The Georgia Historical Society has announced the unveiling of a new Civil Rights Trail historical marker in Monroe County recognizing The Birthplace of Jo Ann Gibson Robinson in Culloden, Georgia.
Jo Ann Gibson Robinson was born in Culloden, Georgia, on April 17, 1912. She was the first person in her family to graduate from college and later became a teacher. In 1949, Robinson became a professor at Alabama State College in Montgomery. Upon moving to Alabama, she also joined the Women’s Political Council (WPC), a civic group for African-American women, and became president in 1950. Robinson made desegregating buses a top priority as president, wanting to prevent others from facing humiliation and fear from being threatened for sitting in the wrong seat—something she experienced early in her time in Montgomery.
Robinson led the organization, creation, and distribution of flyers calling for a bus boycott following Rosa Parks’ arrest on December 1, 1955. Word spread through newspapers, church services, and word of mouth, and on December 5 a majority of Montgomery’s Black bus riders participated in the boycott. The city did not meet initial demands for change, so the boycott was prolonged through the organization of carpools and lowered cab fares. Throughout the boycott Robinson and other leaders were targets of acts of intimidation for their efforts. On December 20, 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against segregated buses, stating they violated the Fourteenth Amendment, bringing an end to the boycott. Robinson continued teaching and later authored The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It published in 1987.
“The Birthplace of Jo Ann Gibson Robinson historical marker brings light to an important figure in the Montgomery Bus Boycott,” says GHS Marker Manager Elyse Butler. “The marker uses Jo Ann Gibson Robinson’s story to illustrate the impact of the Movement’s often under-recognized foot soldiers, and shows how local participants helped shape the outcome of the larger struggle for human and civil rights.”
Speakers for the dedication included The Honorable Dr. Margie Bryant, member of the Culloden City Council; Thomas Jordan, speaking for Ambassador Oscar Webb on behalf of Mrs. Robinson’s extended family; Ralph Bass, Jr., Monroe County Historical Society Vice-President; Rev. Eddie Johnson, Sr., Macedonia Baptist Church in Thomaston, GA; Mark Smith, May Pearsons High School; and Elyse Butler, Marker Manager for the Georgia Historical Society.
The Georgia Civil Rights Trail Initiative was established in 2015 as part of the ongoing work of the Georgia Historical Marker Program to recognize the rich diversity of our state’s past and focuses broadly on the economic, social, political, and cultural history of the Civil Rights Movement. This is the newest marker on the Trail.
The marker is located at the site of her birthplace at 3 Old Hwy 341 in Culloden. For further information about The Birthplace of JoAnn Gibson Robinson historical marker or the Georgia Civil Rights Trail Marker Program, please contact Patricia Meagher, GHS Director of Communications at 912.651.2125, ext. 153 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The marker reads as follows:
The Birthplace of Jo Ann Gibson Robinson
Jo Ann Gibson Robinson was born near Culloden. Robinson attended Hudson High School in Macon, later graduating from Fort Valley Normal and Industrial School and Atlanta University. In 1949, she became a professor at Alabama State College in Montgomery and joined the Women’s Political Council (WPC). During Robinson’s term as president, the organization prioritized the desegregation of Montgomery’s city buses. Following the arrest of Rosa Parks, Robinson played an integral role by creating and organizing the distribution of tens of thousands of leaflets calling for a one-day bus boycott on December 5, 1955. That evening, community and church leaders, capitalizing on the day’s accomplishment, created the Montgomery Improvement Association to continue the boycott. Robinson worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. throughout the boycott until the desegregation of Montgomery’s buses in 1956.
Erected by the Georgia Historical Society, the City of Culloden, and the Monroe County Historical Society
ABOUT THE GEORGIA HISTORICAL MARKER PROGRAM
The Georgia Historical Society (GHS) administers Georgia’s historical marker program. Over the past 20 years, GHS has erected nearly 300 new historical markers across the state on a wide variety of subjects. GHS also coordinates the maintenance for more than 2,100 markers installed by the State of Georgia prior to 1998. Online mapping tools allow users to design driving routes based on historical markers, and a mobile app helps visitors locate and learn about markers nearby. Visit georgiahistory.com for more ways to use Georgia’s historical markers and experience history where it happened.
ABOUT THE GEORGIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Georgia Historical Society (GHS) is the premier independent statewide institution responsible for collecting, examining, and teaching Georgia history. GHS houses the oldest and most distinguished collection of materials related exclusively to Georgia history in the nation.
To learn more visit georgiahistory.com.