Anti-Apartheid Advocate and Human Rights Activist Randall Robinson Dies at 81

Renowned human rights activist and civil rights lawyer Randall Robinson died Mar. 24 at age 81. Robinson died of aspiration pneumonia, NPR reported. Known for his advocacy against apartheid and for Haitian democracy and reparations for Black Americans, Robinson was a fierce supporter of higher education. (Left to right) Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass; Coretta Scott King; Randall Robinson(Left to right) Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass; Coretta Scott King; Randall Robinson

Born 1941 in Richmond, Va., Robinson was one of the leaders of the anti-apartheid Free South Africa Movement. He was also founder and president of foreign policy advocacy organization TransAfrica. Robinson – he held a J.D. from Harvard Law School – also spent time teaching as a professor of human rights law at Penn State University.

He attributed his fight to the segregation he himself faced in life.

"The insult of segregation was searing and unforgettable," Robinson said in 2005. “We all have to die, and I preferred to have just one death. It seems to me that to suffer insult without response is to die many deaths."

Robinson moved to St. Kitts in the Caribbean, with his wife, Hazel Ross-Robinson, in 2001.

"I never believed my place was necessarily physically in America," Robinson said in 2004. "I am as much a Nigerian, a Haitian, a South African, a Kittitian, a Jamaican as I am an American. There shouldn't be these partitions between the people of the Black world. I have lived that and I have committed myself to that in everything that I've done throughout my life."

A funeral service will be held in St. Kitts in April, and a memorial service will be held in Washington, D.C., in May, according to the family.