It was a sad day for America; Civil Rights Activist, Amelia Boynton Robinson died on Wednesday at the age of 104. Ms. Robinson was greatly admired and she was well known in Selma during the Civil Rights Movement and marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965 along side of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ms. Robinson was one of the first black women to attempt to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge and following a blow to the body, she fell down to the ground unconscious which spread across the nation with a famous photograph of her lying on the bridge. In fact, she was merely one of many who was beaten that day and as a result, this famous day became known as Bloody Sunday. It is just sad that history repeats itself with this incident and then with Rodney King, and then over the years by racial driven police officers who give good, hard working and community orientated police officers a bad name. Some may argue that it was a different time in the 60s but was it really? Bloody Sunday was the result of many white police officers attempting to barricade the bridge from the protesters gaining access into town–and to think, all they wanted to do was for black people to have the right to vote. How sad is it that we still need Civil Rights Activists even today?
Ms. Robinson never gave up and continued to march along side of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and eventually after several additional marches, they were successful which led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Ms. Robinson was called to the White House to be a guest of (then) President Lyndon Johnson, to be present for the signing of the act. Ms. Robinson was married two times. In 1934, she registered to the vote at the age of 23 in Alabama but even back then she was denied due to the race wars of the times. Her first husband died in 1963 and she had two sons from that marriage. In 1964, she ran for Congress but because the blocks were stacked against her, he only received 10% of the votes. Yet, year after year, Ms. Robinson continued to educate and fight for Civil Rights and along side of Dr. King’s family for many years. She remarried in 1969 but that ended when she was left a widow yet again when her second husband died in a boating accident in 1973. She married again but her third husband died in 1988. In February 2011, at the age of 99 and still fighting strong, Ms. Robinson went to Savannah State University to talk with college students about the Civil Rights Movement and the Right to Vote for all.
“I have had worse things than that done to me when I was fighting for people’s right to vote. I have been called rabble-rouser, agitator. But because of my fighting, I was able to hand to the entire country the right for people to vote. To give me an honor and rescind it because I am fighting for justice and for a man who has an economic program that will help the poor and the oppressed … if that is the reason, then I think they did more good than they did harm.”
— Amelia Boynton Robinson