Dr. Dollye Robinson grew up in a musical family, two blocks from what is now Jackson State University. In this episode, she recalls how being surrounded by music inspired her to become a band director. While attending Lanier High School, Robinson would often rehearse with the Jackson College band. She remembers how that experience landed her a music scholarship after graduation.
As a music major at Jackson College in the 1940s, Robinson joined the Duke Otis Orchestra. She describes the challenges of being a female, first-trumpet player in an all-male dance band.
After Robinson graduated from Jackson College, she became an assistant band director at a high school in Brookhaven. She explains how being teased by alumni from other colleges, over the meager size of the Jackson College band, led her to return to her alma mater to help recruit new members.
In 1952, Robinson became the Assistant Band Director and Instructor of Music at JSU. She left long enough to earn two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University and has served JSU as the head of the Department of Music, Chair of the Division of Fine Arts, Associate Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts.
Mississippi Moments is written and produced by Ross Walton, with narration by Bill Ellison.