Heading 1: A Legendary Era’s Beginning In the 1960s, Motown became a musical powerhouse thanks to Berry Gordy. Smokey Robinson, a musician and songwriter from Detroit, played a pivotal role in inspiring Gordy to create the iconic Motown Records. But did you know that Smokey Robinson’s father had a remarkable story too?
Heading 2: The Early Years of Smokey Robinson Smokey Robinson, a Detroit native, grew up singing in local groups with his friends. He was deeply influenced by the harmonies and vocal styles of the 1950s, blending them with the popular jazz of the time. Robinson’s journey started with a group called the Five Chimes, which eventually evolved into the Miracles, marking the beginning of a successful recording career.
Heading 3: Smokey’s Family History Revealed In 2023, Smokey Robinson shared a surprising and touching story about his father during an interview with DJ Vlad. This story sheds light on a dark chapter in racial history.
Heading 4: The Hardship of Smokey’s Father Smokey Robinson’s father, William Robinson Sr., was born in 1896 in Selma, Alabama. At the tender age of 10, he began working as a paperboy, struggling to make ends meet. The money he earned was constantly taken by a white teenager five years older than him.
Heading 5: Racial Injustice and Fear William Robinson Sr. was a Black boy living in early 20th century Alabama, where seeking help from the authorities was often futile. Complaining about the injustice seemed like a dead end. Fear of consequences prevented him from involving his older brothers. He knew that if they confronted the white bully, it could lead to violence against his family.
Heading 6: Taking Matters into His Own Hands After enduring two years of bullying and theft, William Robinson Sr. decided to take a stand. He purchased a Boy Scout knife and waited for the 17-year-old bully to strike again. On one fateful payday, the older teen approached him for the last time, and a confrontation ensued.
Heading 7: A Brave Act Robinson’s father, pushed to the ground, refused to surrender his hard-earned money. In a courageous act of self-defense, he pulled out his newly acquired knife and thrust it into the bully’s leg. The screams of the bully marked the end of his torment.
Heading 8: A Life-Altering Decision Though the immediate threat had ended, William Robinson Sr. was now afraid of potential retaliation from the bully’s friends and family. Believing that staying in Selma would endanger his family, the 12-year-old made a life-altering decision. He walked to the railroad tracks and hopped on a train, leaving his hometown behind.
Heading 9: The Unbearable Sorrow During the interview, Smokey Robinson expressed his sympathy for his father’s predicament, but he also reflected on the immense sorrow that his grandmother must have felt. She watched her youngest child run away, never to be seen again.
Smokey Robinson’s father’s story is a testament to the hardships and challenges that many Black individuals faced during that era. It’s a reminder of the courage and resilience shown by those who navigated a racially divided society.