Katherine Naomi Robinson, Class of 1922

Katherine Naomi Robinson
Class of 1922

Katherine Naomi Robinson, a Boston native born in 1898, graduated from Wellesley in 1922, and later earned a master’s degree in English from Boston University in 1934. She was the first in her family to attend college. While at Wellesley, Robinson founded the Boston chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, a public service sorority for Black women. A French major, she also studied Latin and enjoyed playing the piano. After graduate school, Robinson joined the faculty at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, which was the first historically Black institute at its founding in 1837. During her tenure, she taught English, French, and Latin, and served as the Dean of Women for eleven years.

A lifelong educator, Robinson also served as a committed volunteer in her community. She was a Sunday school teacher for twenty-eight years, a volunteer pianist, and a music teacher. A member of the South End Planning Council and the N.A.A.C.P. Section of Education and Counseling, Robinson was also an active member in a community improvement group in Boston, the Cosmopolitan Neighborhood Association, and a founder of the original Harriet Tubman House on Holyoke Street in Boston. She passed away in 1984 in Boston, and her obituary in the Boston Globe mentioned that in 1979, she was one of the first recipients of the Melnea Cass Senior Citizens Award, an honor named after a well-known civil rights activist in Boston.