Geraldine Robinson at Juneteenth celebration at Jackie Robinson Park in Sun Village in the Antelope Valley, Los Angeles County, CA.

Geraldine Robinson

A Family Affair

“Everyone was considered family; whether by blood or by love. We had to show respect to everyone. It didn’t matter if they were related or not. We had to respect everyone in our community; they supported and cared for us. It was a family here, so you felt secure and safe. We didn’t have any real problems out here during that time.”

Geraldine Robinson first came to Sun Village as a child with her parents, George and Inez Thomas. “We came to visit family, and my father fell in love with the desert and the mountains. So in 1955, we relocated to Sun Village. We lived in a little house. A year later, my parents assisted my grandparents, Abraham and Flora Culver, with relocating from Mississippi to Sun Village. In ‘57, my grandfather went back to Mississippi to assist his brother and sister-in-law, Marcus and Jesse Bell Culver, with moving to Sun Village as well. We were the largest family out here during that time.”

And central to this coming-of-age was a newly-christened desert oasis called Jackie Robinson Park. “We came every Saturday and Sunday…before the buildings were built,” Robinson shares, scanning the grounds she knows and loves so well. “We’d have a whole gang of…kids because we couldn’t go to the park in Palmdale, so once we got our own park, that became our hangout spot. There were a lot of kids that lived out here, so we would meet up at the park after school on Fridays. There was us (the Culvers), the Franklins, the Hendersons, the Reids, the Colliers, and the Talleys. There were a lot of us.”

Like many of her neighbors, Robinson holds a deep reverence for local leaders who were instrumental in building the park and maintaining its vitality over the years – leaders like Jessie Carroll, Daisy Gibson, and Robert Joseph. It’s no surprise, then, that she’d welcome a sculptural tribute in the park honoring their contributions and sharing their story with future generations. “To have some statues out front of those people that were really instrumental in getting [the] park started…the ones that really helped start the park and guided us,” she muses. “The front of the park would be a great place to have a statue or tribute to represent the history of the park, to let everyone know what this place is about.”

Today, Robinson is happily nested back in Sun Village amongst its schools, its churches, its local businesses, and, most importantly, its people. “I love living out here. I moved back 25 years ago…I purchased my house from my parents…I’m still in the same house I grew up in.”