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Judson Robinson Jr. Collection

Identifier: MSS 0043

Scope and Contents

The Judson Robinson, Jr. Collection documents the professional and family life of Judson Robinson, Jr. and the Robinson family of Houston, Texas. This collection, which dates from 1941 to 2012, includes correspondence, city planning reports, bids, motions, campaign related materials. The bulk of the materials relate to Judson Robinson, Jr.’s election to the Houston City Council in 1971 and the activities of Judson Robinson during his tenure on city council. Newspapers and clippings comprise a considerable portion of the collection highlighting political, social, and race relations both on a local and national level. Other materials include, funeral programs, correspondence, event programs, magazines, photographic materials, awards, ephemera, memorabilia, plaques, framed photographs, and scrapbooks. Other highlights of the collection included information about Margarette Robinson's work within the Pleasantville community and tenure on city council and Judson Robinson, Sr.’s activities as a real-estate entrepreneur. This collection captures the political and social climate of Houston during the mid to late twentieth century. Additionally, it shows the experiences of blacks in positions of political leadership and business entrepreneurship.


  • 1941-2012
  • Majority of material found in 1965-2012

Language of Materials

This collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the Judson Robinson Jr. Collection must be obtained from the African American Library at the Gregory School or the appropriate copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Judson Wilber Robinson, Jr. (1932–1990) the first African American elected to Houston City Council was an activist for civil rights and education and a businessman.

Judson was born to Josie (McCullough) and Judson Robinson, Sr. on November 21, 1932, in Houston Texas, he graduated from Jack Yates High School in Third Ward. He earned a bachelor’s in business administration from Fisk University in 1954. Returning to Houston he joined the family business Judson W. Robinson & Sons Real Estate and Mortgage Company, becoming president upon his father’s retirement. Judson established R.M.P. Development Company, which was the first African-American franchise of the Burger King Corporation. He was a co-owner of Houston’s KCOH radio station, the first black-oriented radio station in Texas.

In 1967, Judson entered politics serving as the Pleasantville Precinct 259 judge. He served in this position until elected to the at-large Position 5 on Houston’s city council; he became the first African American elected and was subsequently re-elected five times. He served a total of nineteen years as a council member and served as mayor pro tem twice. As a city council member, he pushed for economic development in Houston’s lower income neighborhoods and advocated for an increased hiring of minority employees in the city police and fire departments. Robinson was actively involved in the community and organizational activities serving as member of the member on the board of regents for Texas Southern University and the University of St. Thomas, as president of St. Elizabeth Hospital and a director of Riverside Hospital and Riverside National Bank.

Judson Robinson died of cancer on November 15, 1990. He was posthumously honored with a Houston library, elementary School and Community center named in his honor. Margarette was appointed to her husband’s city council seat and served until 1992 when their son Judson Robinson, III. was elected to the seat.

Margarette Thompson Robinson (1935-2012), nurse, community activist and business woman was born to Louis and Eunice Thompson in Baldwin Louisiana. She attended Franklin High School and later graduated from St. Clare’s Hospital School of Nursing in New York City in 1956. She was the first black operating room nurse at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston, the first African-American surgical nurse at the Houston Veterans Hospital and the first black industrial nurse at the Anheuser-Busch plant in Houston. After the passing of her husband, Judson Jr., she was appointed by the Houston city council to serve the remaining term of her husband’s seat.

Judson Wilber Robinson Sr. (1904-1986) a businessman, realtor, and civic leader in Houston, graduated from Prairie View State Normal and Industrial College in 1926. He worked on the Southern Pacific and was president of the Railroad Sleeping Car Porters and Waiters Union. He established the first African American mortgage company, Judson W. Robinson & Sons Real Estate and Mortgage Company, in Texas approved by the Federal Housing Administration in 1962. He established the National Real Estate Association and was the first African American appointed to the Houston Housing Authority Board and to manage Kelly Courts and Cuney Homes. Robinson Sr. held many leadership positions including being a founding member of the Houston Area Urban League, Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce director, director at Trinity East United Methodist Church and as chairman of Precinct 259 in Pleasantville.

Judson Robinson III. (1959-) a businessman, and civic leader, is the current President and CEO of Houston Areal Urban League (HAUL) and member of Uptown Houston TIRZ Board of Directors. He graduated from Fisk University in 1981 and worked sales and marketing at IBM for approximately ten years. Following his parents lead, he was elected to the city council At-large Position 5, where he served three terms. He previously worked as deputy commissioner and chief of staff for Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner. Robinson also established a consulting firm, JWR3 Interests.


23.75 Linear Feet (19)


This collection is arranged into 11 series, four of which are further arranged into subseries. Series are arranged subject and format.

Series I Professional Activities

Series II Correspondence

Series II Printed Materials

*Subseries: Brochures, Pamphlets, and Flyers; *Subseries: Event Programs; *Subseries: Publications and Periodicals

Series IV Newspapers and News Clippings

*Subseries: Newspapers; *Subseries: News Clippings

Series V Robinson Family Materials

*Subseries: Judson Robinson, Sr. Papers; *Subseries: Judson Robinson, III. Papers; *Subseries: Margarette Thompson Robinson papers; *Subseries: Miscellaneous Family Materials

Series VI Photographic Materials

*Subseries Career Related Photos *Subseries Family Photos *Subseries Building and Landscapes

Series VII Awards

Series VIII Memorial Projects

Series IX Memorabilia and Ephemera

Series X Scrapbook and Scrapbook materials

Series XI Posters and Collages

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Judson Robinson, III. in 2013.

Related Materials

MSS 0069 Beulah Shepard Collection

MSS 0094 Eulundia Kay Shepard Collection

MSS 0143 Judson Robinson, Sr. Family Collection 1950s-1970s

Processing Information

Processed by Sheena Wilson, January 2018.

MSS 0043 Judson Robinson Jr. Collection
An Inventory of his Records at the African American Library at the Gregory School, Houston Public Library
Sheena Wilson
January 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Gregory School Repository


The African American Library at the Gregory School
1300 Victor Street
Houston, Texas 77019
Houston Metropolitan Research Center
Houston Public Library
550 McKinney St.
Houston, Texas 77002