The Arlington County Board today approved naming Green Valley’s Town Square for civic activist John Robinson, Jr. Robinson, often called the “Mayor of Green Valley,” fought for decades against racial injustice and inequality in northern Virginia.
Born in Arlington, Robinson (1934-2012), published the Green Valley News, a free African American publication that circulated in Green Valley for more than 45 years. He was the founder and longtime leader of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in the neighborhood. He was widely recognized by a variety of organizations for his community activism.
The Green Valley Civic Association put forward his name, and the Park and Recreation Commission recommended it to the Board.
“John Robinson, Jr. devoted his life to the fight for civil rights and social justice, and the improvement of Green Valley,” Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey said. “It is entirely appropriate that the town square that will be at the heart of the neighborhood, a place to bring the community together and to celebrate Green Valley’s history and build its future, will honor a man who so passionately championed the neighborhood, its families and social justice.”
The town square, at 2400 S Shirlington Rd., is expected to be completed in spring 2021. The Board voted unanimously to approve “John Robinson, Jr. Town Square,” as its official name. To read the staff report, visit the County website. Scroll to Item No. 38 on the agenda for the Tuesday, November 17, 2020, Recessed County Board Meeting.
The Green Valley Civic Association surveyed neighborhood residents on their name preference and gathered votes at community events, before submitting a resolution to the County Board in 2019 to name the square for John Robinson, Jr. Both the Shirlington and Columbia Heights Civic Associations provided written support for naming the square “John Robinson, Jr. Town Square.” The Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board unanimously supported the name, as did the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee.
The John Robinson, Jr., Town Square will anchor the Village Center in Green Valley. The square will be a community gathering place for events, and for learning about the neighborhood’s rich cultural heritage through public art and design enhancements. The project is being managed by the County’s Neighborhood Services Division of the Community Planning, Housing, and Development department, in partnership with the Departments of Parks and Recreation, Environmental Services, and Arlington Economic Development-Cultural Affairs.
The County Board adopted the then-Nauck Village Center Action Plan on July 10, 2004. The plan guides public and private investment in Green Valley’s commercial center. Green Valley was settled by free African Americans in 1844.