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NSA Historical Figures

Carroll Robinson

During a period when The New York Times was accusing the Army of trying "to preserve a pattern of bigotry which caricatures the democratic cause in every corner of the world," the Agency hired its first black engineer, Carroll Robinson, in 1948. He was a graduate of Howard University with an electrical engineering degree. Hired by the Research and Development (R&D) organization, he was assigned to the team charged with building the Agency's first in-house developed digital computer, ABNER 1. R&D was one of the few areas where African-Americans worked alongside their white coworkers conducting meaningful assignments. Carroll Robinson became the Agency's first African-American senior executive, retiring from federal service as an office chief.