Robert Boyd Morris was born on March 30, 1912, in Haw River, North Carolina, and was raised in Greensboro. He graduated from Greensboro (now Grimsley) Senior High School and later worked for the Atlantic Coal and Oil Company for three years. Morris began working at the Mayfair Cafeteria in Greensboro, then owned by his father, at the age of 23.
In the 1940s, Morris was appointed to the Greensboro City Council, where he served for ten years. In 1955 he was elected mayor, and he served for two years. In the early 1960s, the Mayfair was often the site for civil rights demonstrations. Morris also operated another segreated restaurant at Greensboro's Friendly Shopping Center. Following the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, Morris desegregated the cafeteria, but in 1967 the Mayfair closed permanently due to declining patronage. Soon afterward, Morris opened another cafeteria in Thomasville, North Carolina, and at the same time served as manager of the Pilot Life Country Club.
In the 1980s, Morris came out of retirement to work as Public Relations Director for the K&W Cafeteria chain, and spent his final years working as a greeter at K&W. Morris died on April 12, 1995 at the age of 83.