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Nellie Robinson

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Nellie Robinson
Dame Nellie Robinson.jpg
Born
Georgiana Ellen Robinson

(1880-12-07)7 December 1880
Died29 April 1972(1972-04-29) (aged 91)
St. John's, Antigua
NationalityAntiguan
Other namesMiz Rob
OccupationEducator
Years active1889–1950
Known forFounding the Thomas Oliver Robinson Memorial School (TOR)

Dame Nellie Robinson, DNH, MBE, (7 December 1880 – 29 April 1972), was an Antiguan teacher and school founder who was a pioneer in education. She broke down colour and class barriers, believing that all children should have access to learning. As of 2017, she was the only woman to have received the Order of the National Hero from the government of Antigua and Barbuda.

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Early life

Georgiana Ellen Robinson was born on 7 December 1880 in St. John's on the island of Antigua in the West Indies to Margaret and George Robinson.[1] As the second of eight children, she was raised in the family home on New gate Street in St John's,[2] until the age of around ten, when she was sent to the United States to study in the American school system. By the age of 13, she was acting as a household helper and nanny and the following year, she returned to Antigua. To further her education, Robinson enrolled in Coke Memorial College. Though it was a Methodist school and Robinson was Anglican, Coke allowed students of African heritage, which the elite Anglican schools prohibited, unless the children were of the elite upper class.[1][2] The school was only operational for about a decade due to the lack of funding available, since the government only provided funds for the Anglican schools.[1] When Coke closed, Robinson pursued education on her own, studying for her Senior Cambridge examination with Mr. D. S. B, Jones. She passed her examination and furthered her studies, obtaining certificates in music and music theory with Mrs. Lamond (née Tull).[3]

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St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda

St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda

St. John's is the capital and largest city of Antigua and Barbuda, part of the West Indies in the Caribbean Sea. With a population of 22,219, St. John's is the commercial centre of the nation and the chief port of the island of Antigua.

Antigua

Antigua

Antigua, also known as Waladli or Wadadli by the native population, is an island in the Lesser Antilles. It is one of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean region and the most populous island of the country of Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua and Barbuda became an independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations on 1 November 1981.

West Indies

West Indies

The West Indies is a subregion of North America, surrounded by the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, which comprises 13 independent island countries and 18 dependencies, and three archipelagos: the Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles, and the Lucayan Archipelago.

Nanny

Nanny

A nanny is a person who provides child care. Typically, this care is given within the children's family setting. Throughout history, nannies were usually servants in large households and reported directly to the lady of the house. Today, modern nannies, like other domestic workers, may live in or out of the house, depending on their circumstances and those of their employers. Some employment agencies specialize in providing nannies, as there are families that specifically seek them and may make them a part of the household.

Senior Cambridge

Senior Cambridge

The Senior Cambridge examinations were General Certificate of Education examinations held in India, Jamaica, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Singapore. They were preceded by the Junior Cambridge and Preliminary Cambridge examinations.

Career

When Robinson completed her schooling, she was determined to improve the educational opportunities of black students.[1] Her brother, Thomas Oliver Robinson, suggested she found a school herself.[3] She did so, and named it in remembrance him, as he had recently died of typhoid fever.[1] In 1898, when she was 18, Robinson opened the Thomas Oliver Robinson Memorial School (most often known as TOR or TOR Memorial) for children of all races,[4][5] classes, and faiths—her doors were open to anyone desiring to improve their education and life. In a pioneering move for the time, Robinson admitted illegitimate children and lobbied for the change of official practice barring illegitimate children from secondary school.[1][2] She established the first coeducational secondary school on the island, successfully challenging the officials which tried to close her school by claiming the teachers were unqualified and that the conditions were unsanitary.[2]

In the beginning, most of her students were mulattos because most blacks could not afford schooling. Only forty years had lapsed since slavery was abolished[3] and British colonialism imposed class and race inequalities upon people of non-white backgrounds.[1] As soon as she was financially able to do so, Robinson began funding scholarships for poor, black children. TOR Memorial students were encouraged in both intellectual and artistic pursuits, and the school staged entertainment such as musicals and operettas. As the reputation of the school became known, enrollment increased and soon Robinson's classes represented the social spectrum of the country. Sir Ernest Bickham Sweet-Escott recommended that Robinson be given a grant to further the school's educational aims.[3]

In 1912, Robinson served on the Water Preservation Committee, formed to expand the access to piped water in the country.[1] In 1915, during World War I, Robinson was the only black woman to serve on the Antiguan Mobilization Committee. Robinson recruited men to travel to Canada or Britain to enlist, but also lobbied for improvements in the living conditions for men being shipped overseas for service.[6] She was one of the people who helped establish The Girl Guides Association of Antigua and Barbuda and served as a committee member of the association. In 1935, she was given a commemorative medal at the Silver Jubilee of King George V in recognition of her contributions to education and in 1941 she was honored as a Member of Order of the British Empire.[2]

In 1950, after having served over sixty years as headmistress of TOR Memorial, Robinson retired, leaving the running of the school to Ina Loving.[7][8] She continued to be active, encouraging participation in cultural activities and in the 1950s supported the development of Antigua Carnival.[9]

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Typhoid fever

Typhoid fever

Typhoid fever, also known as typhoid, is a disease caused by Salmonella serotype Typhi bacteria. Symptoms vary from mild to severe, and usually begin six to 30 days after exposure. Often there is a gradual onset of a high fever over several days. This is commonly accompanied by weakness, abdominal pain, constipation, headaches, and mild vomiting. Some people develop a skin rash with rose colored spots. In severe cases, people may experience confusion. Without treatment, symptoms may last weeks or months. Diarrhea may be severe, but is uncommon. Other people may carry the bacterium without being affected, but they are still able to spread the disease. Typhoid fever is a type of enteric fever, along with paratyphoid fever. S. enterica Typhi is believed to infect and replicate only within humans.

Race (human categorization)

Race (human categorization)

A race is a categorization of humans based on shared physical or social qualities into groups generally viewed as distinct within a given society. The term came into common usage during the 1500s, when it was used to refer to groups of various kinds, including those characterized by close kinship relations. By the 17th century, the term began to refer to physical (phenotypical) traits, and then later to national affiliations. Modern science regards race as a social construct, an identity which is assigned based on rules made by society. While partly based on physical similarities within groups, race does not have an inherent physical or biological meaning. The concept of race is foundational to racism, the belief that humans can be divided based on the superiority of one race over another.

Legitimacy (family law)

Legitimacy (family law)

Legitimacy, in traditional Western common law, is the status of a child born to parents who are legally married to each other, and of a child conceived before the parents obtain a legal divorce. Conversely, illegitimacy, also known as bastardy, has been the status of a child born outside marriage, such a child being known as a bastard, a love child, a natural child, or illegitimate. In Scots law, the terms natural son and natural daughter bear the same implications.

Mulatto

Mulatto

Mulatto is a racial classification to refer to people of mixed African and European ancestry. Its use is considered outdated and offensive in several languages, including English and Dutch, whereas in languages such as Spanish and Portuguese is not, and can even be a source of pride. A mulatta is a female mulatto.

Abolitionism in the United Kingdom

Abolitionism in the United Kingdom

Abolitionism in the United Kingdom was the movement in the late 18th and early 19th centuries to end the practice of slavery, whether formal or informal, in the United Kingdom, the British Empire and the world, including ending the Atlantic slave trade. It was part of a wider abolitionism movement in Western Europe and the Americas.

Water supply network

Water supply network

A water supply network or water supply system is a system of engineered hydrologic and hydraulic components that provide water supply. A water supply system typically includes the following:A drainage basin A raw water collection point where the water accumulates, such as a lake, a river, or groundwater from an underground aquifer. Raw water may be transferred using uncovered ground-level aqueducts, covered tunnels, or underground water pipes to water purification facilities. Water purification facilities. Treated water is transferred using water pipes. Water storage facilities such as reservoirs, water tanks, or water towers. Smaller water systems may store the water in cisterns or pressure vessels. Tall buildings may also need to store water locally in pressure vessels in order for the water to reach the upper floors. Additional water pressurizing components such as pumping stations may need to be situated at the outlet of underground or aboveground reservoirs or cisterns. A pipe network for distribution of water to consumers and other usage points Connections to the sewers are generally found downstream of the water consumers, but the sewer system is considered to be a separate system, rather than part of the water supply system.

World War I

World War I

World War I, often abbreviated as WWI, was one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. It was fought between two coalitions, the first being the Allies, whose key members included France, Britain, Russia, Italy, Japan and their respective colonial empires, with the United States joining as an associated power in 1917. They faced the Central Powers, primarily Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire, with fighting occurring throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Pacific, and parts of Asia. An estimated 9 million soldiers were killed in combat, plus another 23 million wounded, while 5 million civilians died as a result of military action, hunger, and disease. Millions more died as a result of genocide, while the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic was exacerbated by the movement of combatants during the war.

The Girl Guides Association of Antigua and Barbuda

The Girl Guides Association of Antigua and Barbuda

The Girl Guides Association of Antigua and Barbuda is the Guiding organization of Antigua and Barbuda. It serves 718 members. Founded in 1931, the girls-only organization became an associate member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in 1984 and a full member in 2002.

Order of the British Empire

Order of the British Empire

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service. It was established on 4 June 1917 by King George V and comprises five classes across both civil and military divisions, the most senior two of which make the recipient either a knight if male or dame if female. There is also the related British Empire Medal, whose recipients are affiliated with, but not members of, the order.

Antigua Carnival

Antigua Carnival

The Antiguan Carnival is a celebration of the emancipation of slavery in the country held annually from the end of July to the first Tuesday in August. The most important day is that of the j'ouvert, in which brass and steel bands perform for much of the island's population. Barbuda's Carnival, held in June, is known as Caribana. The Antiguan and Barbudan Carnivals replaced the Old Time Christmas Festival in 1957, with hopes of inspiring tourism in Antigua and Barbuda. Some elements of the Christmas Festival remain in the modern Carnival celebrations.

Death and legacy

Robinson died on 29 April 1972 in St. John's[1] and was buried at the St John’s Public Cemetery.[10] Her funeral was attended by the Governor-General Sir Wilfred Jacobs and the Premier George Walter.[7] In 1999, a panel organized by the Professional Organization of Women in Antigua reviewing outstanding contributions from women in Antigua and Barbuda, named Robinson as the Outstanding Woman of the Century.[9][11] In 2006, at the celebrations for Antigua's 25th independence anniversary, she was named a Dame Companion of the Order of the National Hero.[1] A decade after she was honored, she is the only woman to be declared a national hero and is recognized, along the other designees with an annual wreathe–laying on their graves.[12][13]

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Source: "Nellie Robinson", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nellie_Robinson.

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