North Carolina's first Black lieutenant governor-elect Mark Robinson hopes to inspire others with personal story

Tuesday, November 10, 2020
North Carolina's first Black Lieutenant Governor-elect hopes to inspire others with his personal story.
North Carolina's first Black Lieutenant Governor-elect hopes to inspire others with his personal story.

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- Before becoming North Carolina's first Black Lieutenant Governor-elect, Mark Robinson's story began on Logan Street in Greensboro.

"When I stand here and I look at this place and I think about where I came from, it just makes me smile. Those were great memories, and all of them were not great," Robinson said.

Robinson grew up poor with nine brothers and sisters in a Black neighborhood just blocks from North Carolina A&T State University.

"We actually used to walk to church," Robinson said.

The house is now long gone.

Robinson shared an images with ABC11 of himself a as child outside the home and the front porch with his father, who he said was physically abusive.

"I witnessed a lot of violence in my house. Between my mother and father. Some of those fights were very bloody," Robinson said.

Robinson spent stints in foster care. He then joined the military after seeing a Black Marine in church.

After serving the country and working odd jobs, he landed back in the Triad region as a factory worker, making furniture while studying history at UNC-Greensboro.

Today, the husband, father and grandfather of two lives in a middle-class subdivision in High Point -- making his own history.

"People loved our message and were willing to get on board with our message," Robinson said.

Two years ago, it was a passionate gun-rights speech during a Greensboro city council meeting that propelled Robinson into the national spotlight, and as the GOP's candidate for lieutenant governor.

Robinson beat his Democratic opponent Yvonne Holley-but not without controversy.

Republican Mark Robinson defeats Yvonne Holley, will become NC's first Black lieutenant governor

Although some of his controversial social media posts surfaced publicly during the campaign, Robinson vows he'll serve everyone and bring North Carolinians together.

ABC11 asked Robinson what does that goal look like under his leadership?

"The thing that I want to do is this. I keep reminding people. Opinions are one thing. I have strong opinions about a myriad of things but when it comes to those opinions, I have always been mature enough to set my opinions aside in order to do what right for the greater good," Robinson said. "There are times that I am going to reach out to people who I know did not vote for me or opposed to me because we need to hear those voices as well."

He hopes his history-making win will inspire others to engage in politics and break barriers.

"Young people from across the board that come from all types of disadvantaged situations, they are going to say if that guy can make it, I can make it as well," Robinson said

Robinson will officially become the state's first Black Lieutenant Governor when he is sworn-in in January.

He said he will try to find common ground with Gov. Roy Cooper on issues, specifically veterans care.

A Jewish rabbi in Raleigh wrote an open letter requesting a meeting with Robinson.

Robinson said he'll take a look at the letter and consider it.