Williams, Robert Franklin
- Robert Heinrich
Williams, Robert Franklin (26 February 1925–15 October 1996), civil rights activist, was born in Monroe, North Carolina, the fourth of five children of Emma Carter Williams and John Williams, a railroad boiler washer. Robert’s grandmother, Ellen Williams, played a central role in his upbringing. She encouraged him to take his studies seriously, fostered his interest in history and racial politics, and gave him the gun owned by his grandfather, Republican newspaper editor Sikes Williams. When Robert was eleven years old he witnessed white police officer Jesse Helms Sr., assault a black woman on the street. The incident, as well as the passive reaction of Monroe’s blacks, inspired his later political activism....