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HomeDaily Dose of HistoryDAILY DOSE OF HISTORY: Max Robinson - News Anchor

DAILY DOSE OF HISTORY: Max Robinson – News Anchor

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Max Robinson, Black news anchor, Black newscaster, ABCNews, Black History, Black History 365, DDH: Daily Dose of History


Max Robinson was born Maxie Cleveland Robinson, Jr. on May 1, 1939, in Richmond, Virginia. He was one of four children born to Maxie and Doris Robinson. During his childhood, the schools in Richmond were still segregated. Nevertheless, young Max and all of his siblings remained focused on their education.


After graduating high school, Robinson attended Oberlin College. In his freshman year, he served as the class president. He later transferred to Indiana University. He eventually earned his degree from Virginia Union University.


Robinson joined the U.S. Air Force shortly after college. He was later granted an honorable discharge due to a medical condition. In 1959, he applied for a position at a local radio station in Virginia. The radio station had a “Whites Only” policy but that didn’t stop him. He was hired to read the news for the radio station.
After leaving the radio station, Robinson was hired at WTOV-TV in Portsmouth, Virginia. He was hired to read the news while a slug of the station’s logo covered his face. Because he was Black, he could not be seen on TV as a news anchor. After he had the slug removed during his news reading, he was fired from the station.


Robinson was then hired by WRC-TV in Washington D.C. He worked there for three years and won six journalism awards for his coverage of the Civil Rights Movement. He also won two regional Emmy awards for a documentary he made, titled The Other Washington. His documentary focused on Black life in Anacostia.
Max Robinson, Black news anchor, Black newscaster, ABCNews, Black History, Black History 365, DDH: Daily Dose of History

Eyewitness News

Robinson joined the Eyewitness News team WTOP-TV in Washington D.C. in 1969. He became the first Black anchor on a local television news program. The newscast was an instant success. Robinson became so popular that when the B’nai B’rith building in Washington D.C. was held hostage, the men behind the attack would only speak to him.


In 1978, Robinson was hired as a news anchor for World News Tonight. He reported the national news from Chicago while his counterparts, Peter Jennings and Frank Reynolds, reported on international and local news from London and Washington, respectively. Robinson made history as the first Black man to anchor a nightly network news broadcast. The newscast was a success.


While anchoring for ABC, Robinson earned a bad reputation. He often argued with producers about how Black America was being portrayed. Others complained about working with him. It was said that he often showed up to work late or not at all. He was also an alcoholic and could be harsh to his coworkers. He also felt unworthy of praise and felt he could do more.


While hospitalized for pneumonia, it was discovered that Robinson had contracted AIDS. In 1988, he was scheduled to deliver a speech at Howard University’s School of Communications but he fell ill. He checked himself into the hospital. Max Robinson died of complications due to AIDS on December 20, 1988. He was 49 years old.
Max Robinson, Black news anchor, Black newscaster, ABCNews, Black History, Black History 365, DDH: Daily Dose of History
**The views and actions of the DDH historical figures that are featured may not reflect the views and beliefs of Ramiro The Writer. Thank you.**

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