Reverend Clem Robinson, a noted “scholar,” a “Christian gentleman,” and “an able colored Baptist clergyman” was born in Brunswick, Virginia. He grew up with no recollection of his parents but, through the providence of God, migrated to Pennsylvania where he received both a college and theology degree from Ashman Institute in Pennsylvania (known today as Lincoln University). Though he began his distinguished teaching career in Philadelphia, Reverend Clem yearned to return to his native state Virginia, but conditions were not conducive for him to return to Brunswick. Nonetheless, as God had destined, he received the clarion call to go and to settle in Alexandria after the Union occupation.

On January 1, 1862, Reverend Clem Robinson, along with his wife, Ms. Amanda Bowden (Borden) organized the “First Select Colored School” that was on the future site of Beulah Baptist Church for contrabands – a school that was operated and managed completely by the colored people of Alexandria.