War Tax Resister Eroseanna Robinson

From the issue of The Spokesman-Review:

Jail Hunger Striker Sent to Hospital

Miss Eroseanna Robinson, 35, who went on a hunger strike after being sent to jail for contempt of court in a case involving refusal to pay income taxes, was ordered sent to the United States public health service hospital as a “precautionary” move.

Warden Jack Johnson of Cook county jail said Miss Robinson, a social worker, has taken only liquids since , which occurred . She has been examined every day by jail doctors until , he said, when she refused further examinations.

Miss Robinson was arrested for refusal to pay her income taxes or file tax returns for . She refused, she said, because she is a pacifist and taxes are used for military purposes.

Robinson was also arrested alongside war tax resisters Wally and Juanita Nelson in the early 1960s in Maryland for refusing to leave a restaurant that would not serve black people. A note in Jet about her tax resistance imprisonment said:

Chicago Judge Edwin A. Robson, who sentenced tax objector Eroseanna Robinson, 35, a professed pacifist, to a year and a day in prison for contempt of court, said he received 400 letters criticizing him for the sentence, but only one praising his decision. However, that one letter was from Miss Robinson’s family, which said in part: “We are certain she could not have had a fairer or more just trial.”

Edmund Wilson, in his book The Cold War and the Income Tax, briefly mentions the Robinson case:

Miss Eroseanna Robinson, a Negro, the recreational director of a Chicago community center, is an athlete of such calibre that she was chosen to represent the United States in a track meet in which we competed with Russia. She refused on the ground that she was unwilling “to be used as a political pawn,” as she would be if, appearing abroad side by side with white American contestants, she were made to convey the impression that Negroes in the United States were given an equal status with white people. She has, also, on the same grounds as [A.J.] Muste, refused to report her income to the government — as the result of which, in , she was sentenced, for “criminal contempt,” to a year and a day in jail. In prison, she went on a hunger strike and was forcibly fed through the nose. As a result of her unwillingness, as was charged, to conform with prison regulations, she was held incommunicado, forbidden to receive visitors or to write letters.