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This article is an orphan, as few or no other articles link to it. Please introduce links to this page from related articles; suggestions may be available. (February 2010) This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. Please improve this article by introducing more precise citations where appropriate. (February 2010) Robert Robinson Born 1907 Jamaica Died 1994 Washington, DC Nationality American, Russian Occupation Mechanical Engineer, Toolmaker Robert Robinson (1907–1994) was a black American mechanical engineer and toolmaker. He was lured in 1930 by high wages to the Soviet Union during the Great Depression and was trapped there, spending 44 years in Moscow's First State Ball Bearing Factory as a toolmaker and surviving Stalin's purges, the German invasion, famine, the Cold War, and continual disappearances of fellow workers. In Moscow, he met African-American poet Langston Hughes, and athlete, singer, actor, lawyer, and social activist Paul Robeson. Robeson turned a deaf ear to Robinson's tales of Soviet horror and ignored his pleas for assistance to leave the country. Contents 1 Family 2 Friends and acquaintances 3 Life 4 References 5 Further reading Family Born in Jamaica, he grew up in Cuba. He and his mother were abandoned by his father when he was six. His mother was born in Dominica and, in the employment of a young doctor, she followed the physician to Jamaica.[1] Friends and acquaintances Robinson knew many African-Americans who went to the Soviet Union during the 1930s. His book, Black on Red: My 44 Years Inside The Soviet Union, reveals some of his acquaintances as Henry Smith, a journalist; Wayland Rudd, an actor; Robert Ross, a Soviet Propagandist from Montana; Henry Scott, a dancer from New York City; Coretta Arle-Titz, actress and music professor; John Sutton, an agronomist; George Tynes, also an agronomist; and Lovett Whiteman, an English teacher. Langston Hughes and Paul Robeson were interested in the Soviet experiment and made trips to the USSR, where Robert Robinson met them. They became friends. Robinson asked Paul Robeson to help him escape the Soviet Union. Robeson declined to do so as it would harm his relations with the Soviet leadership.[2] Life In 1927, a Russian delegation visited the Ford Motor Company, where Robinson worked as a toolmaker. The delegation leader asked him and others if they wanted to work under a one year contract in the Soviet Union. The pay would be far greater. They were promised free rent in a posh apartment, maid service, and a car. At 23, Robinson was adventurous and accepted, but none of these things came true. He survived the German invasion of Russia, with Hitler's army 44 miles from Moscow. During the Eastern Front (World War II), he almost died from starvation, having as meals six or seven leaves of cabbage soaked in lukewarm water. He was unable to leave the Soviet Union until 1974. Since the 1950s, he had annually applied for a vacation visa abroad and each time, it was denied. Through the influence of two Ugandan ambassadors, he was granted permission to visit Uganda. He bought a round trip ticket so not to arouse suspicion, and, once there, he never returned to Russia.[3] In 1976, he married African-American Zylpha Mapp in Uganda. Through the efforts of Ugandan officials, and U.S. Information Service officer William B. Davis, he was eventually allowed to re-enter the United States and re-gained United States Citizenship. He moved to Washington, D.C. with his wife.[4] He died of cancer in 1994. Among those attending the funeral were his wife[5], William B. Davis, and Mathias Lubega, former Ugandan ambassador to Moscow.[6] References ^ ^ ^ ^,179680 ^ ^ Further reading Tim Tzouliadis. The Forsaken: From the Great Depression to the Gulags - Hope and Betrayal in Stalin's Russia. Little, Brown, 2009. Persondata Name Robinson, Robert. Alternative names Short description Date of birth Place of birth Jamaica Date of death Place of death Washington, DC