How Did Jackie Robinson Try To Change
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Jackie Robinson - Changing Major League Baseball - Biography
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Shirley Chisholm was relentless in breaking political barriers with respect to both race and gender. She was a pioneer. In , Chisholm became the first black woman elected to the U. As both a New York state legislator and a congresswoman, Chisholm championed the rights of the least of us, fighting for improved education; health and social services, including unemployment benefits for domestic workers; providing disadvantaged students the chance to enter college while receiving intensive remedial education; the food stamp program; and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children program. Chisholm noted that she faced more discrimination because of gender than race during her New York legislative career, while acknowledging the additional struggle that black women encounter specifically because of their race.
All those Chisholm hired for her congressional office were women; half of them were black. Benjamin Oliver Davis Sr. Army, battled segregation by developing and implementing plans for the limited desegregation of U. Davis, who was born in Chicago in and Howard University-educated, began his military career in the trenches of the Spanish-American War as a volunteer grunt. In the throes of segregation for four decades, he commanded troops in Liberia and the Philippines, where his unit was the famed Buffalo Soldiers. He was three times assigned as a professor of military science and tactics at Wilberforce University in Ohio and Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
His duty assignments were designed to avoid him being put in command of white troops or officers. He rose slowly through the ranks, becoming the first black colonel in the army in All of his appointments were considered temporary, a move designed to limit his exposure to white troops. During World War II , he headed a special unit charged with safeguarding the status and morale of black soldiers in the army, and he served in the European theater as a special adviser on race relations. In , he was promoted to brigadier general by President Franklin D. Roosevelt , a move some thought was only because Roosevelt needed black votes in the presidential election. Davis retired in after 50 years of service. Following many years of service, he became an adviser for the military on racial discrimination, pushing for full integration of the armed forces.
Davis Jr. In , President Harry S. Truman ordered the end of discriminatory practices in the armed forces, relying on the foundation built by Davis. After his death in , he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. In January , the U. Postal Service issued a Black Heritage Stamp to honor his service and contributions. A slave. A free person among slaves. A free person who must still fight for full emancipation. Every black person who has called America home has existed in one of these three states.
Frederick Douglass endured them all and spoke to these unique human conditions while demanding complete black inclusion in the American experiment. With his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass , published in , Douglass provided arguably the most influential slave narrative. Born in Maryland in , the son of a slave mother and a white father, possibly his owner, Douglass escaped bondage by fleeing North.
Through his vivid portrayals of brutality, the severing of familial bonds and mental torture, he documented the iniquity of the peculiar institution and disproved the Southern propaganda of the happy slave. Douglass rose to prominence in the abolitionist movement, partly due to his personal experience of having lived as chattel, but also he knew how to enrapture an audience. One observer described him as strikingly memorable. Particularly relevant today, Douglass leaves behind a blueprint for challenging racism.
In August , President Abraham Lincoln invited black leaders to the White House to sell them on the idea of black immigration out of the country. Douglass was not always successful in changing the mind of a president. He died in , but his spirit in standing before white supremacy and calling it by its name remains. As a researcher and surgeon, Dr. Charles Drew revolutionized the understanding of plasma, the liquid portion of blood without cells. As a young man, Drew was an exceptional athlete, starring in football, baseball, basketball and track and field at Washington, D.
His research established protocols on how blood should be collected and refrigerated, how donors should be recruited and screened, and training methods for people who would collect and test blood. Even so, the U. He died in at the age of 45 in a car accident in Burlington, North Carolina, while returning from a clinic at Tuskegee Institute in Today, according to the Red Cross, there are Attentive to both sides of the color line, Du Bois provided the most cogent explanation why whites to this day rebuff interracial political alliances even when sharing economic interests with people of color.
In Black Reconstruction in America , published in , Du Bois observed that working-class whites receive the psychological wage of whiteness. Du Bois also wrote incisively on the black condition , including the observation that blacks have a double consciousness. One ever feels his two-ness, — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. This is the legacy of Du Bois — a veritable library of works that were essential reading the moment he finished them because they spoke to the issues of the day and yet speak just as loudly now.
Just as soul music and Motown provided the aspirational soundtrack for the s civil rights movement, swing music furnished the upwardly-mobile score for the mids Harlem Renaissance. An economical pianist and canny orchestra leader, music seemed to pour from the D. That Ellington was able to manage such a crackerjack touring orchestra while composing hundreds of topflight tunes is testament to his genius and industry.
In death as in life, he is the embodiment of jazz. Curtsies are absolutely appropriate. Aretha Franklin is undisputed when it comes to pouring gospel-inflected, bluesy wails of love-gone-wrong lyrics over country-fried—yet-pop tracks. She plucked her Pentecostal pipes from the pulpit and applied them to a secular sound, giving us Sunday morning righteousness on any given Saturday night. Fifty years ago, the daughter of popular Detroit Baptist minister C. Franklin scored a No. All these years later, the single still resonates. But Franklin is bigger than one track. Few can hold a candle to her four-octave range — many have tried, some have come close, but no one has managed to sustain and strike quite the way Franklin has.
All hail the Queen. For decades, a belief has taken hold among guitarists — to prove your ability, you must pay homage to Jimi Hendrix. His live performances were at times distractingly sloppy, his guitar tone ear-piercing. If that meant playing long, solo-intensive songs illustrating the savageness of war, then so be it. By the time of his death in , Hendrix had so thoroughly changed musical perceptions that even jazz legends such as Miles Davis and Gil Evans were taking cues from him.
He leaped effortlessly from metallic fury to gossamer balladry and jazzy excursions. Sure, Eddie Van Halen is brilliant, but his solos tell us little about him, or his time. Recently, Salvage the Bones author and Fire This Time editor Jesmyn Ward published an essay rejoicing in the visibility and celebration of Southern blackness and the fact that it had made its way to television in the form of Atlanta and Queen Sugar. Ward is a Mississippian who drank in the words of Zora Neale Hurston and Alice Walker because they spoke to her existence, and she, like so many other black Southern artists and writers, owes a debt of gratitude to Hurston.
The author of four novels, including the now beloved and celebrated Their Eyes Were Watching God and the autobiography Dust Tracks on a Road , was dismissed as a southern bumpkin by her male contemporaries, including Richard Wright, Sterling A. Brown, Ralph Ellison and Alain Locke. As a folklorist, Hurston is part of a literary tradition that shares its ethos with the blues and with contemporary musical acts such as Alabama Shakes, the Carolina Chocolate Drops and OutKast. The longstanding divide between Northern and Southern black people, metropolitan vs.
It was Walker, who in , brought Hurston out of the American literary hinterlands with Looking for Zora , her essay published in Ms. Jesse Jackson laid the foundation for electing a black president, one of the signature achievements of the 21st century. This is not conventional wisdom, but it is true. Black leaders had been discussing for years what it would take to seriously compete for the highest office in the land, to build on what Shirley Chisholm did in But none of the most prominent black elected leaders would step up — either they lacked courage or a big enough ego. Jackson lacked neither. With his second presidential campaign in , he established himself as the leader of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.
He won 11 primaries and caucuses and finished as runner-up to Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis. Jackson pried open the Democratic Party structure and helped increase black participation in politics. The result was more field operatives, strategists, fundraisers — and candidates for a wider range of offices — than ever before. As Jackson has faded from national prominence, with his image taking a pelting in recent years, it is easy to forget how electric he once was. It is not an overstatement to call him one of the greatest political orators in American history.
It seems fate itself set the stage for Michael Jackson. When the musical wunderkind was born in , television was in its experimental age, Billboard Magazine had just premiered its Hot singles chart and the recording industry was planning the premiere of an awards show called The Grammys. Over a career spanning five decades, Jackson would bend all these emerging cultural forces to his will. He arrived on the world stage at age 11, having already sacrificed his youth performing at venues around his Indiana hometown of Gary.
Combining the soft-shoed grace of Sammy Davis Jr. It was the first LP to place seven top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot , while nabbing a record-breaking eight Grammys. Thriller remains the best-selling album ever, having moved an undisputed million copies worldwide. Through his visionary music videos, Jackson established not only his musical mastery, but a quirky fashion sense that incorporated multizippered jackets and a single sequined glove. His videos were so powerful that Epic Records threatened to censure MTV if the fledgling network did not break with its tacit segregationist content policy and broadcast them. Through cosmetic enhancements, Jackson morphed into an androgynous, powder-complected waif.
He successfully fended off multiple allegations of child molestation, but at the sacrifice of his once squeaky-clean image. Forbes named him the highest-earning celebrity of He remains the multiplatinum standard, a symbol of near-unattainable excellence in entertaining. If hip-hop had a Mount Rushmore, there are three men whose faces would be chiseled in granite: The Notorious B. Notorious B.
Jay Z is now He never graduated from high school and sold crack cocaine until he arrived as Jay Z with his debut album, Reasonable Doubt. His 13 Billboard No. He is an owner of Tidal , a streaming music service. He has lived the American dream of reinvention and second chances. Now let me handle my business, damn! The significance of NASA being able to send John Glenn around the earth three successful times is well-documented, well-reported on and appropriately looked at as one of the more important gains in air and space.
The critical nugget that always was missing was the unseen black female force that helped him get there. Thankfully, we now know better. Katherine Johnson, 98, was a physicist and mathematician who helped launch the first use of digital electronic computers at NASA, the independent federal government agency that handles aerospace research, aeronautics and the civilian space program. Her wisdom with numbers and accuracy was so highly regarded that her sign-off was paramount for NASA to modernize itself with digital computers.
Johnson came on board in — a year before the civil rights movement kicked into high gear — and she initially worked in a pool of black women who all were performing math calculations. But it was Johnson who was plucked out of the pool to work with an all-male flight research team. It was Johnson who helped calculate the orbit for the Apollo 11 flight to the moon. Her story — our story — was told in grand Hollywood fashion. Oscar-nominated actor and Golden Globe winner Taraji P. Henson brought her life to the big screen in the critically acclaimed Hidden Figures , and Henson boldly helped to tell a story that so many of us never knew existed.
Johnson is a genius. She was a math prodigy who was 14 years old when she graduated from high school, 18 years old when she earned a double degree in math and French from West Virginia State College. And she helped to integrate the graduate school at West Virginia University — where she was one of three black students and, ahem, the lone woman — after a Supreme Court ruling. Yes, she has a story worth telling. In , then-President Barack Obama awarded Johnson the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her pioneering work that led black women to work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Others that work: producer, writer, arranger, composer and humanitarian. Along with his music partner, he was the first black composer nominated for an Academy Award in In , he was the first black musical director and conductor for the show. Musically, Jones is a wonder. Those albums have inspired a generation of pop stars, including Chris Brown , Usher and Justin Timberlake. A song he produced in sealed his reputation as a humanitarian. He gathered 37 of the biggest names in music at that time together in one studio to record the Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie-penned track We Are The World and support famine relief in Africa.
The album sold more than 20 million copies and the song is one of the highest-selling singles of all time. A monthly vinyl subscription service announced Jones as an upcoming curator for its record of the month, and a new headphone collaboration looks to give Dr. Dre a run for his money. Michael Jordan operates on his own terms. The ruthless competitor in him has made sure of that. Over the years, he molded himself into this lauded beast in reaction to what perhaps only he considers failure.
It all began in , during his sophomore year at Laney High School in Wilmington, North Carolina, when Jordan was not selected for the varsity basketball team. He dominated on varsity and received a basketball scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, he hit a game-winner to clinch a national championship and was named the national college player of the year. The NBA told him not to wear the sneakers Nike made for him, but he still did, eventually turning Air Jordan into an entire commercial collection and billion-dollar brand. At the peak of his playing career, Jordan entered an early retirement to play Major League Baseball.
Another retirement led to another comeback, and a point game at the age of When his playing days ended, Jordan turned a minority stake in an NBA franchise to principal ownership of the Charlotte Hornets. Ruthless, relentless and peerless. Pick up a pencil. And write me a letter. Show the racial and economic apartheid facing the Negro in the United States. Rouse the fearful souls who feel certain it cannot be overcome. Calm the ones who seek to kill to see it done. Set aside the certainty that your life is in mortal peril — when has it not been?
Of course we are speaking of Martin Luther King Jr. Why is it so hard now to see the blood and sweat behind the monument King has become? Perhaps peaceful resistance feels so passive in these pugnacious times? But when was it ever not so? Perhaps his eloquence lulls the senses with its beauty. Perhaps martyrdom puts his exhortations out of reach of the normal person. Certainly, he was a man of incredible achievement: seminal leader of the civil rights movement , co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a key figure in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in , the Montgomery bus boycott, the Selma to Montgomery March in , and a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in And after his assassination, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a federal holiday , a monument in Washington, D.
The key to that achievement? Knowing that a strong economic withdrawal program would be the by-product of direct action, we felt that this was the best time to bring pressure on the merchants for the needed changes. Note the precision of the planning, the cunning in the details: King was waging a war. This was not about turning the other cheek. He would not answer violence with violence but would fight until he died. It is hard now to see the movement behind the movement. He is still etched in marble. But remember this: The tools he used are within your possession.
He asked for more than nonviolence. He asked that you use them. Doctors stole her cells. Henrietta Lacks was an accidental pioneer of modern-day medicine ; her cells are saving lives today even though she died in Lacks was a year-old mother of five when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Just months before her death, doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore sliced pieces of tissue from her cancerous tumor without her consent — in effect, stealing them. It was another instance of decades of medical apartheid and clinical practices that discriminated against blacks. Lacks was not a slave, but parts of her cancerous tumor represent the first human cells ever bought and sold.
Her cells, known among scientists as HeLa, were unusual in that they could rapidly reproduce and stay alive long enough to undergo multiple tests. They played an important part in developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping and in vitro fertilization. Malcolm X was royalty. He was the American Dream whether America wanted him to be or not.
Malcolm X converted to Islam while serving a six-year prison sentence for burglary in Massachusetts. In just two years after his release from prison, he became a minister at Nation of Islam temples in Boston, Philadelphia and New York. The paper remains one of his lasting legacies as it was the medium for him to spread his revolutionary message. His philosophies on black pride, black beauty and black power spread widely across the country — for a time in the s it was the most widely read black newspaper in the United States, boasting a circulation in the ,s. His Unity Rally in that same year was one of the biggest civil rights gatherings at the time. Malcolm X took a more diplomatic stance with regard to race relations after leaving the Nation of Islam in He began though to preach peaceful resistance, and the benefits of integration and unity.
However, his break from the Nation of Islam would be short-lived, as he was assassinated in New York City in He was The paperback version of the book sold , copies in its first year and is essential reading for any American. He racked up 29 wins against just three losses , including his most famous victory, Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark decision that forced public schools to desegregate. Marshall is arguably the most pivotal figure in the destruction of Jim Crow , and the most consequential lawyer of the 20th century.
While other civil rights leaders organized strategically vital sit-ins, marches and boycotts, Marshall attacked inequality and racism where America had legally sanctioned it. He stayed in the homes of appreciative black folks who took elaborate steps to keep him safe and a step ahead of marauding Klansmen. His courage was remarkable. He managed to maintain his gravitas and fortitude amid daily death threats, sipping bourbon and telling stories. He took shots at Malcolm X and Clarence Thomas alike. It was fitting that he was called Mr. Civil Rights. Gilbert King, in his book, Devil in the Grove , notes the reverence for Marshall among blacks who saw him get case after case overturned by the Supreme Court.
No wonder that across the South, in their darkest, most demoralizing hours, when falsely accused men sat in jails, when women and children stood before the ashy ruins of mob-torched homes, the spirits of black citizens would be lifted with two words whispered in defiance and hope:. You are. Many writers used fiction to tell the story of our people, to reveal the physical and mental burden of half a millennium of systemic dehumanization. Think of our lives and tell us your particularized world. Make up a story. Narrative is radical, creating us at the very moment it is being created.
Morrison did not plumb the depths of our history to prove to anybody, not even ourselves, that we were human. There are no lectures in her novels. Not even in her magnum opus, Beloved , about Sethe, a woman haunted by the child she killed instead of returning her to slavery. Her thirst for freedom for her children and for a future was not written to make you feel grateful for yours. Her rage and sorrow may mirror our own, but it is not ours. To read Morrison is to be reminded that each of us has our own journey. We need only crack open one of her books at any page to find the strength of fellow travelers.
To be one with the last utterance in Beloved. He announced his candidacy for president on Feb. He had little support from established politicians, and many black voters did not even know who he was. But his campaign became a movement. His soaring speeches promising hope and change inspired millions. Less than two years later, a record crowd gathered on the National Mall to witness what was once unthinkable: the inauguration of the first black president of the United States. It was a singular achievement by a man with a singular history. He was born in Hawaii to a Kenyan father and white mother. As a child, he lived in Indonesia before returning to Hawaii to be raised by his white grandparents.
As a teenager, he began to discover his black identity largely through basketball. He admired and emulated the loose-limbed swagger of the guys who played the game. He saw black as cool, and embraced the virtues of blackness while managing to sidestep much of its complicated baggage. All along, he behaved like a man unconstrained by stereotype. Asked to name television shows he liked, he mentioned the gritty urban drama The Wire , adding that his favorite character was Omar, a gay stickup man. Through two terms as president , he tamed the Great Recession, rescued the struggling auto industry and enacted a health care reform law that had eluded Democrats for decades.
He was disciplined and deliberative, even-tempered and level-headed. He was often described as the smartest person in the room, which everyone knew he knew. Overall, Obama governed as a moderate. Obama remained confident even after voters chose as his successor, Donald Trump , a man who in both style and substance is his polar opposite. Speaking to the nation in his farewell address, Obama reprised the slogan that accompanied his history-making rise to the White House:. Yes we can. But many African-Americans opposed a boycott, yearning for validation on a truly level playing field.
Owens already owned several world records and was recognized as the fastest man alive. He emerged in Berlin as the unquestioned star of the Olympics, setting or equaling records in the meter dash, the meter sprint, the meter relay and long jump. Owens returned home to the oppression of Jim Crow. Later, he established himself as a public speaker. As a believer in pursuing equality through economic rather than political means, he initially criticized the civil rights movement and the raised-fist Olympic protest by John Carlos and Tommie Smith. A smoker, he died of lung cancer in In many ways, he was the first black sports hero for all Americans. It took decades for another to rise.
From some of his earliest professional photographs of Ella Watson holding a mop and broom with an American flag draped behind her, to fashion spreads for Vogue magazine , Gordon Parks used the camera and the world around him to show not only the state of African-American life, but also to bring attention to the creativity of his people. Born Nov. He went on to become the first African-American photographer on the staff of Life magazine and produced some of the best photo essays the world has ever seen, from showing the world what it meant to be black in America to the story of year-old Flavio in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. These images resonated with readers and helped propel Life to a level of photojournalism that many say has not been seen since.
This path took Parks to Paris, Cuba and the streets of New York City, creating pictures that showed the beauty of design, colors and creativity of places that few people of color were able to reach. Parks was the first African-American director of major motion pictures, starting with The Learning Tree in and Shaft in The latter movie helped define the blaxploitation era, while simultaneously expanding the identity of African-Americans in films, from actors in front of the camera to producers and directors behind it. Parks, who died in , was a Renaissance man, with nearly two dozen books ranging from autobiography, poetry and photography, as well as 12 films he wrote or directed.
His work transformed how generations of black artists , photographers and musicians saw themselves and the world, opening their imaginations to the possibility of storytelling through images of the black experience. At a time when black folks were about to see the fruits of the civil rights struggle, the Oscar-winner challenged the American box office — and thus, the average American — about what a movie star looked like. Change was a-coming. The films that he created in were seminal — they all centered around race and race relations and tapped into conversations everyday black folks were having around their dinner tables. He earned a spot as a member of the American Negro Theater after a successful audition, and by the end of the s he was dipping his toe in film.
Perhaps the most important thing Poitier pulled off was to understand the importance of having someone who looked like him step behind the camera and direct. Visual presence is paramount, and power comes at the hands of those who can shape it. And now the cycle continues. That same year, Rolling Stone caught up with Pryor as he purchased a Walther. Born Dec. No comedian has used the black experience more effectively to express its complexities to diverse audiences. His was a comedy that black folks usually heard in private , that sometimes made white folks squeamish — yet appreciative of the reality check. His life and career are a vision board of incredible highs, debilitating lows, tumultuous relationships and the ever-present demon of drug addiction.
Later, there was multiple sclerosis. The justification lies in the basics, in the bones, that fundamental belief that African-Americans were sociologically and scientifically incapable of joining white society. The best way to consider Robinson is to consider the victory of his opposition had he failed. Joe Louis and Jesse Owens came before Robinson, but each participated in an individual sport, where whites could appreciate black talent, but not have to dine with them, share a cab with them, and yes, take a shower next to them. Blacks were enjoyed without having to remove the invisible wall of segregation as a national belief system or even consider the logic of its construction.
After the sale of Motown Records in , Robinson left the company in Robinson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in , and was awarded the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for his lifetime contributions to popular music. William Robinson Jr. He attended Northern High School , where he was above average academically and a keen athlete, though his main interest was music, and he formed a doo-wop group named the Five Chimes. At one point, he and Aretha Franklin lived several houses from each other on Belmont; he once said he knew Franklin since she was about five. Two years later, in , they were renamed the Matadors and included Bobby Rogers. The group's guitarist, Marv Tarplin , joined them sometime in The Matadors began touring Detroit venues around this time.
They later changed their name to the Miracles. At that time during the audition, Robinson had brought along with him a "Big 10" notebook with songs he wrote while in high school. Gordy was impressed with Robinson's vocals and even more impressed with Robinson's ambitious songwriting. It was the beginning of a long and successful collaboration. During this time, Robinson attended college and started classes in January , studying electrical engineering. Gordy formed Tamla Records which was later reincorporated as Motown. The Miracles became one of the first acts signed to the label,  although they had actually been with Gordy since before the formation of Motown Records.
After the arrival of Holland—Dozier—Holland and the team of Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong , he was eclipsed as a top writer and producer for the label, and other Motown artists such as Gaye and Stevie Wonder began to compose more original material. By , Robinson wanted to retire from touring to focus on raising his two children with his wife Claudette, and on his duties as Motown's vice president, a job he had taken on by the mids after Esther Gordy Edwards had left the position. After a year of retirement , Robinson announced his comeback with the release of the eponymous Smokey album, in In , Robinson's second album, Pure Smokey , was released but failed to produce hits. Robinson struggled to compete with his former collaborators Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and former Temptations member Eddie Kendricks , as all three had multiple hit singles during this period.
Robinson answered his critics the following year with A Quiet Storm , released in However, Robinson's solo career suffered from his work as Motown's vice president, and his own music took the backseat. At this point Robinson relied on other writers and producers to help him with his albums. Following these albums, Robinson got out of a writer's block after his close collaborator Marv Tarplin , who joined him on the road in after Robinson left the Miracles, presented him a tune he had composed on his guitar. Robinson later wrote the lyrics that became his first solo top ten Pop single, " Cruisin' ".
It also became his first solo number one in New Zealand. Robinson would follow a similar approach with his next album, Warm Thoughts , which produced another top 40 hit, "Let Me Be the Clock", though it did not repeat the success of "Cruisin'". In , Robinson topped the charts again with another sensual ballad, " Being with You ", which was another number one hit in Cash Box and peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot In , following a period of personal and professional issues, Robinson made a comeback with the album, One Heartbeat and the singles, " Just to See Her " and " One Heartbeat ",  which were Top 10 hits on Billboard ' s Pop, Soul, and Adult Contemporary charts.
They were aided by popular music videos. He was inducted as a solo artist to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in ,  later igniting controversy as the committee had inducted only Robinson and not members of his group, the Miracles, which Robinson was personally offended by. Though Robinson was not listed as an inductee, he was due to induct his former group at the ceremony in April However, the album, Double Good Everything failed to chart. Robinson remained virtually quiet during the nineties though he would make a notable cameo appearance in The Temptations miniseries , making a brief comeback in when he re-signed with Motown and issued the album, Intimate , which included the song "Easy to Love".
In , he once again split ties with Motown, releasing the gospel album, Food for the Soul on Liquid 8 Records in Two years later, Robinson released the standards album, Timeless Love , in on Universal Records. It reached number 59 on the Billboard album chart, his highest showing since One Heartbeat. He subsequently released "Now And Then" in , which peaked at number It reached number 12 on the Billboard album chart.
Christmas Everyday was Robinson's first post-Miracles Christmas album, and was released on November 10, Robinson is currently managed by Iconic Management. On July 31, , Robinson appeared as a special guest on the Fox network's show Beat Shazam as a special guest. Robinson married a fellow Miracles member, Claudette Rogers , in The couple had two children: A son, Berry Robinson born , named after Motown's first label founder Berry Gordy ; and a daughter, Tamla Robinson born , named after the original "Tamla" label set up by Gordy that would eventually become Motown. Robinson also had a son named Trey born with another woman during his marriage to Claudette.
After Robinson admitted to having fathered a child with a woman other than his wife, he filed for legal separation and later filed for divorce. The divorce was finalized in Robinson married Frances Gladney in May They own a home in Pittsburgh and use it as a winery. Robinson has not eaten red meat since My Uncle Claude was my favorite uncle, he was also my godfather. He and I were really, really close. He used to take me to see cowboy movies all the time when I was a little boy because I loved cowboy movies.
He got a cowboy name for me, which was Smokey Joe. So from the time I was three years old if people asked me what my name was I didn't tell them my name was William, I told them my name was Smokey Joe. That's what everyone called me until I was about 12 and then I dropped the Joe part. I've heard that story about him giving it to me because I'm a light skinned black man but that's not true. This was Robinson's first Grammy Award. In , Robinson was awarded a medal at the National Medal of Arts. On March 20, , the Miracles were finally honored as a group with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Smokey was present with original Miracles members Bobby Rogers , Pete Moore , Bobby's cousin Claudette Rogers , and Gloria White, accepting for her husband, the late Ronnie White , whose daughter Pamela and granddaughter Maya were there representing him as well.
Smokey's replacement, s Miracles lead singer Billy Griffin , was also honored. Controversially, original Miracle Marv Tarplin was not honored, against the wishes of his fellow Miracles and the group's fans, who felt that he should have also been there to share the honor. Later, Tarplin did receive his star.