Editor’s note: Greater Union Life Center in DeLand is sponsoring Black History Month 2021 banners honoring 16 individuals who have made a positive impact on the city of DeLand, and Volusia County. The banners have been installed along Woodland Boulevard in Downtown DeLand, and The Beacon has compiled profiles of the individuals.
Julian Robinson — veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam
Julian Robinson, former chairman of the DeLand Housing Authority, commander of American Legion Post 187, and a veteran of World War II, as well as the Korean and Vietnam wars, was a force to be reckoned with.
In the late 1980s, Robinson worked his way up from a citizen advisory board to head of the DeLand Housing Authority, after criticizing how the Housing Authority operated. He led the charge on cleanup initiatives and low-cost housing, and initiated programs like personal visits to tenants who were late paying their rent.
Robinson spent 24 years in military service, first drafted by the U.S. Army in 1942. He later served in the Air Force, and took part in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II. He completed a tour in Vietnam, and was awarded a meritorious service medal for his work as a production supply superintendent in 1972.
A native of Starke, Robinson turned his eye to DeLand, the birthplace of his wife, Naomi Nichols, after retirement from military service. He had been a student adviser (particularly for Black children) at DeLand Junior High and Seabreeze High School during the 1970s student walkouts, and was co-chair of the United Negro College Fund, which raised funds for Black students.
Along with his work on the Housing Authority, he was an advocate for cleanup efforts in historic Black neighborhoods in southwest DeLand and a proponent of annexation of the Spring Hill community. He regularly attended governmental meetings both large and small.
Robinson, a longtime member of Greater Union First Baptist Church, passed away in 1994 at age 72.