Rubye Smith was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on 25th April, 1942. While a student at Spelman College in 1959 she became involved in Atlanta's lunch counter sit-ins. In 1960 Rubye joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and during one campaign in Rock Hill, South Carolina she was arrested and served a 30 day jail sentence. On her release she became a member of the Freedom Riders.
In 1964 Rubye married Clifford Robinson and even after the birth of her child she remained active in the civil rights movement becoming the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee first female executive secretary. Rubye Robinson died of leukemia on 9th October, 1967.