Black History Month | Our national need for this time of reflection and education was underscored by desecration this week of the James Meredith statue at “Ole Miss” where he broke the color barrier in 1962.
Randolph, too, has a memorial to a black man worthy of our remembrance and honor. In a quiet corner of South View Cemetery lies the grave of Ben Robinson, sold with his mother into slavery in New Orleans. Separated from her, at the age of 10 he was working in corn fields in New Bern, N.C., when Company C of the 9th Vermont Regiment marching by, asked him to join them. He said he would have to ask his master, and they replied, “that’s not necessary.” Befriended by William Holden, he came to East Braintree, attended school, and, with a gift of $200, started farming and worked as a night watchmen in area mills. In 1892, hoping to find his father, he went to the National Encampment in Washington, but learned he was dead.
Ben Robinson died on May 31, 1910. Herald photographer, Bob Eddy, was unable to locate his memorial this week, as it was quietly hidden by a deep drifting of snow.