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In July 1978, Robinson’s work ethic eventually landed him the ABC News news anchor position. The three-man “World News Tonight” team consisted of Frank Reynolds in Washington, Peter Jennings in London, and Robinson manning the national desk in Chicago. Despite his success and accolades, Robinson fought personal demons and feelings of inadequacy in his private life. Colleagues heard whispers of alcoholism and other issues, and the death of his father deeply troubled him as well.

Still, those private matters never held Robinson back from attracting attention for his work. He relished being a role model for Black youth, and often railed against his employers about the way Blacks were portrayed in the media.

The trio was a hit with viewers, but Robinson’s personal issues worsened. That and his increasing disillusionment with how racism was reported in the media caused him to eventually leave ABC. From there, he made another historic run by becoming the first Black anchor for local Chicago station, WMAQ.

Unfortunately, Robinson’s troubles continued in Chicago to the point he believed his colleagues were setting him up. He left WMAQ in 1985.

Robinson was diagnosed with AIDS but initially kept his condition a secret. He succumbed to the disease in December 1988 at age 49.

Robinson was married three times, with two ending in divorce and a third in annulment. He had three children with his first wife, Eleanor Booker: Mark, Maureen, and Michael. He and his third wife, Beverley Hamilton, had a son, Malik.

Robinson is also known as one of the founders of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).

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LIttle Known Black History Fact: Max Robinson  was originally published on

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