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Lanora Glasby Robinson

Born on 6-4-1906. She was born in Buffalo, NY. She was accomplished in the area of Education. She later died on 2-29-1996.
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Lanora Robinson was a member of an early Buffalo family, who settled in Buffalo in the early to mid- 1800s. She was born on June 4, 1906 in Buffalo, New York. Her parents were Madeline Payne Glasby Middleton and Robert E. Glasby. Her aunt was Clara Payne, Buffalo's first Black social worker. Her maternal grandparents were Thomas W. Payne and Grace L. Thompson Payne, whose parents were the early settlers. Mrs. Payne's parents Nimrod and Elizabeth Thompson arrived in Buffalo via the Erie Canal. Mrs. Robinson was the only child of Madeline and husband Robert Glasby. Whether divorced or widowed, Madeline later married Edward Middleton. Middleton was from Kentucky and had been a boarder of the Paynes. He was born on November 3, 1892 and died on December 24, 1968. Middleton was also a WWI veteran having been a Private in Co. A 515, WS Engineers. In Buffalo he was employed as a butler and chauffeur.

Lanora attended School 8 elementary school and Fosdick High School, currently the location of City Honors High. In an interview with the late Professor Jesse Nash, she acknowledged that she was one of three or four Black girls who graduated from the school in about 1920. She continued her education at Buffalo State Teacher's College and began her teaching career in the late 1920s. With the exception of a seven years in the 1960s when she was a Guidance Counselor at East High School and one other school, she was a kindergarten teacher in the Buffalo School District. She taught kindergarten for 30 years. This writer (Barbara Nevergold) was one of Mrs. Robinson's students during her tenure at East. Again, according to her interview with Professor Nash, Mrs. Robinson said she was not interested in becoming a counselor but took the job as the request of Superintendent Joseph Manch.

Mrs. Robinson had a long, distinguished career as an educator, but during World War II, she interrupted that career to join the WACs, the Women's Army Corps, in December 1942. When Professor Nash asked her what had been her motivation, she responded that her family had a history of military service. However, since there were no men in the family to go to World War II, she felt it was her duty to serve. "I am proud to be carrying on the family tradition. We have traced our lineage back two hundred years and each generation has attempted to make its contribution to civil and military life", she said in a 1943 article. Mrs. Robinson's maternal great uncle served in the Civil War and her father was a World War I combat veteran having served in France. At the time of the article, she had reached the rank of Lieutenant and had just completed officer candidate training. She stayed in the WACs for 4 years; pleasurable at times; but she did not want to stay in service.

After the end of the War, Mrs. Robinson returned to the teaching profession. But in the late 50s or early 60s she took an interest in traveling to Africa. During her interview with Professor Nash, she said that she went to African five different times. Her longest stay was one year and other stays were anywhere from several weeks to one year. She went to African on her own because she wanted to go. Later she became affiliated with AID. Her first visit was to Casa Blanca, followed by trips to Ghana and the Ivory Coast. She was supposed to go to Nigeria too but things were too unsettled and she didn't go.

Her opinion of Africa was changed by her visits. And because she went on her own, she was absolutely free by not going with any particular group. She paid her own way. She wanted to be close to the people, she said. She traveled around the city and Western New York giving lectures and sharing her slides of Africa. She also helped to bring school supplies and other resources to villages in Africa.

During the interview with Professor Nash, she spoke of a family reunion, over 200 participated and 20 or more came from Liberia. Someone did the family tree that included members of the Payne family and it was so large they tacked it up on the side of the garage. It began in 1836 or 1826 with a group of people, The American Colonization Society, who helped slaves get back to Africa. They commissioned a ship, the Harriet, which left from Baltimore. Her grandfather was a Payne and Nancy was his mother. One of her brothers took his wife and 14 children and returned to African on the ship commissioned for this trip. He was James Spriggs Payne, the 4th President of Liberia.

Not much is known about Mrs. Robinson's personal life, although she was married at least twice. The 1940 census described Mrs. Robinson as a widow. There is reference to a son, James Robinson but he is not in later census records. She was married again to an African man and for a time took the name of Sandi but returned to Robinson for the rest of her life. Like her family before her, Mrs. Robinson was a dedicated member of St. Philip's Episcopal Church.
Mrs. Robinson died at the age of 89 on February 29, 1996 and is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York.