Books: Non-Fiction

Soon We Will Not Cry: The Liberation of Ruby Doris Smith Robinson

Book — Non-fiction. By Cynthia Griggs Fleming. 1998. 228 pages.
Biography of Civil Rights Movement activist Ruby Doris Smith Robinson.
Time Periods: 20th Century, 1961
Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Women's History

The success of the civil rights movement demanded extraordinary courage of ordinary people. During her short life, Ruby Doris Smith Robinson became one of the most important leaders in the black struggle for equality. By age 24, Robinson’s intelligence, brashness, and bravery had elevated her to a top leadership role in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). [Publisher’s description.]


“Cynthia Fleming paints an intricate portrait of female leadership in the modern Civil Rights movement. This biography of Ruby Doris Smith Robinson provides and illuminating explanation of the intersection of race, gender, and sex in a major civil rights organization. The book is well written and easy to follow. Anyone interested in the administrative history of the movement will enjoy this biography. This book also makes a valuable contribution to gender studies and to the literature of the Civil Rights movement.” —Florida Historical Quarterly

Ruby Doris Smith Robinson

“Cynthia Fleming’s warm and sophisticated study of truly dynamic young Black woman activist and leader opens a new and important window onto the freedom struggle of the 1960s.” —Darlene Clark Hine, Michigan State University

“Cynthia Fleming has given us a provocative biography in which the woman whose memory was once a driving force for activists like myself emerges in all her strength, vulnerability, and complexity. Soon We Will Not Cry is a vital addition to civil rights literature.” —Angela Y. Davis, University of California, Santa Cruz

“Ruby Doris Smith (that’s how I knew her when she was my student at Spelman College), was a person with a rare power, a rock-like integrity, which moved and inspired countless people in the Movement. This biography accurately captures these qualities, and it should bring this extraordinary young woman to her proper place in the history of our time.” —Howard Zinn

“Cynthia Fleming has recorded the story of one of the civil rights movement’s unknown and unsung heroines for the first time. This book will be must reading for scholars and anyone interested in uncovering women’s roles in the freedom struggle.” —Julian Bond

About the Author

Cynthia Griggs Fleming is associate professor of history, African-American studies, and cultural studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

ISBN: 9780847689729 | Rowman & Littlefield Publishers