Amelia Boynton Robinson
National Visionary

Born August 18, 1911 in Savannah, Georgia

Civil rights pioneer, former vice chairman of
the Schiller Institute

Civil rights pioneer Amelia Boynton Robinson is perhaps best known as the woman at the front of the March 7, 1965 “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma, Alabama. Robinson was gassed, beaten, and left for dead that day on Edmund Pettus Bridge.

The protest organizers, including widowed Selma businesswoman Amelia Platts Boynton, had intended to march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama’s state capital, but were stopped by what was effectively a police riot as they crossed the bridge leaving Selma. While the Selma-to-Montgomery march did not take place until two weeks later, the international spotlight on the atrocity over the first attempt on March 7 swelled the marchers’ ranks to national proportions.

Born August 18, 1911 in Savannah, Georgia, to Anna and George Platts, Robinson’s efforts for justice and civil rights began long before 1965. From the 1930s, she and her husband, S.W. Boynton, fought for voting rights and property ownership for African Americans in the poorest rural areas of Alabama, where she worked as a home demonstration agent for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This interview has
been archived in the
NVLP Collection of
African American
Oral Histories at the
Library of Congress
American Folklife
During the 1960s, Robinson’s home and office became the center of Selma’s civil rights battles, used by Dr. Martin Luther King and his lieutenants, Congressmen and attorneys to plan the demonstrations that would lead to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In 1964, she was the first female African American ever to seek a seat in Congress from Alabama, and was the first woman, white or black, to run on the Democratic ticket in the state. Always a vibrant leader, she was awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Medal on July 21, 1990, honoring her lifelong commitment to human and civil rights.

Robinson is Vice Chairwoman of the Schiller Institute, founded in 1984 by Lyndon LaRouche and Helga Zepp LaRouche. The nonprofit’s mission is to defend the rights of all humanity to progress -- material, moral and intellectual. Robinson considers the Institute to be “following in the footsteps of Martin Luther King.” The Institute has recently re-issued her autobiography Bridge Across Jordan.

Today in her 90s, Robinson remains dedicated to promoting racial equality. She continues to tour the nation speaking for the Schiller Institute on behalf of the principles of civil rights and human rights, a cause she has championed for more than five decades.



URL (Click to bookmark): http://www.visionaryproject.org/robinsonameliaboynton