References / Comments
Zylpha brought with her a few copies of her (deceased) husband’s autobiography “Red On Black: My 44 Years Inside The Soviet Union. When I told her that I wanted to purchase a copy she looked very surprised but went right away to get a copy. Once the transaction was completed, I asked if she would autograph it for me and this she did without hesitation. It still remains as a treasured purchase in my library.
On a separate occasion (ca. 1977), Zylphia and Terry Randolph were discussing the impact of Baha’i Teachings in Uganda when she recalled her experience being in the presence of child soldiers, saying “You cannot imagine the look in their eyes, not understanding who they are or what they are doing”. She visibly shuttered with a hint of fear as she recounted her experience. She did not say it, but I believe she probably had encountered elements of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group that has long operated in northern Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
**Early History of the Bahá’í Community in Boston, Massachusetts, by Anise Rideout. Overview of history 1900-1940. Includes early translations of some 2-dozen tablets of Abdu’l-Baha. Unpublished Articles.
***Some sources list Washington, DC as the place where she died. Needs clarification.
Baha’i Faith, Uganda. “Pioneers like Zylpha Mapp served development interests in Uganda in 1971-2 while working as a director of guidance at the Tororo Girls’ School. She was on a leave of absence from the public school system from her work in the States, and was cooperating with the Uganda Ministry of Education in developing a guidance program in other schools of the nation while also began editing the Ugandan National Baha’i Newsletter.” Wikipedia
Baha’i Faith, Uganda. “In 1976 Zylpha Mapp-Robinson, the daughter of the first African-American woman Bahá’í, who had pioneered in many places and who lived in Uganda nine years, was elected to the national spiritual assembly of Uganda in 1976.” Wikipedia
After repairs were completed and the contractors paid a date was set for the Baha’i Center’s second dedication, planned as a major event announced to the public and included special invitations for timed presentations (to a degree, the occasion mirrored the first dedication of the newly purchased facility designated as the first Baha’i community-owned Center in Washington, DC (ca. 1967). Zylpha and her husband moved into the newly constructed caretakers living quarters located on the second floor just a few days prior to reopening ceremonies.
Zylpha always referred to her husband as “Mr. Robinson” and was extremely protected of him. He kept to himself and no one knew much about him, certainly not about his extensive background in the USSR. Zylpha informed the Baha’i administrative body that her husband was organizing his notes for a book he planned to write and have published. It’s not certain exactly how long they lived at the Baha’i Center, but Mr. Robinson would later receive recognition for his experiences in Russia. He later passed away in Washington, DC.
See the ‘Addendum’ above right for additional information. Extensive information about Zylpha Mapp-Robinson, her life, service to the Baha’i Faith, and academic and professional accomplishments are found throughout this webpage and its various links, to include the background of her husband (he was not a member of the Baha’i Faith).
Email (1 Jun 2018) received from Juanita Torrence-Thompson (Zylpha’s daughter) in response to my query and clarifies events associated with her mother’s passing: “She passed away Mother’s Day weekend in 2001 in Queens, NY. We flew her to DC for Burial next to her husband. The DC Baha’is held a lovely memorial service for my mother at the Baha’i Center. Yes, when I was editor and publisher of my Mobius [The Poetry Magazine], I held several contests in her name. I have been thinking about her and dreaming about her a lot lately. She is sorely missed. Sincerely, Juanita Torrence-Thompson”.
Quida Coley, Terry Randolph, Zylphia Mapp-Robinson, 1992 Baha’i World Congress, The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York City.
The narrative continues with two additional components, information about the life of Zylpha’s second husband, Robert N. Robinson, and the accomplishments of Juanita Torrence-Thompson, Zylpha’s daughter from her first marriage. See the Addendum.