- NAME: Amelia Boynton
- OCCUPATION: Educator, Civil Rights Activist
- BIRTH DATE: August 18, 1911 (Age: 102)
- Did You Know?: In 1964, Amelia Boynton became both the first African-American woman and the first female Democratic candidate to run for a seat in Congress from Alabama.
- EDUCATION: Georgia State College (now Savannah State University), Tuskegee Institute (Tuskegee University), Tennessee State University, Virginia State University, Temple University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Savannah, Georgia
- Full Name: Amelia Boynton Robinson
- Maiden Name: Amelia Platts
- AKA: Amelia Platts Boynton
- AKA: Amelia Bilups
- AKA: Amelia Boynton
- ZODIAC SIGN: Leo
Best Known For
Civil rights activist Amelia Boynton helped Martin Luther King Jr. plan the Selma to Montgomery March on Bloody Sunday, which led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Bloody Sunday (4:04)
On March 7, 1965 around 600 people crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in an attempt to begin the Selma to Montgomery march. State troopers violently attacked the peaceful demonstrators in an attempt to stop the march for voting rights.
On Sunday, March 21, 1965, nearly 8,000 people began the five-day march from Selma to Montgomery for voting rights.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Amelia Boynton was born on August 18, 1911, in Savannah, Georgia. Her early activism included holding black voter registration drives in Selma, Alabama, from the 1930s through the '50s. In 1964, she became both the first African-American woman and the first female Democratic candidate to run for a seat in Congress from Alabama. That same year, she marched on Bloody Sunday. In 1990, Boynton won the Martin Luther King Jr. Medal of Freedom. Today,
"Remember, this is your day and your world."
"A vote-less people is a hopeless people."
she tours on behalf of the Schiller Institute.
Civil rights activist Amelia Boynton was born Amelia Platts on August 18, 1911, to George and Anna Platts of Savannah, Georgia. Both of her parents were of African-American, Cherokee Indian and German descent. Church was central to Boynton's and her nine siblings' upbringing.
Boynton spent her first two years of college at Georgia State College (now Savannah State University), then transferred to the Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) in Alabama. She graduated from Tuskegee with a home economics degree before further pursuing her education at Tennessee State University, Virginia State University and Temple University.
After working as a teacher in Georgia, Boynton took a job as Dallas County's home demonstration agent with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Selma, Alabama.
In 1930, she met her co-worker, Dallas County extension agent Samuel Boynton. The two had in common their impassioned desire to better the lives of African-American members of their community, particularly sharecroppers. The couple married in 1936 and went on to have two sons, Bill Jr. and Bruce Carver. Over the next three decades, Amelia and Samuel collectively worked toward achieving voting, property and education rights for the poor African Americans of Alabama's farm country.
Boynton's early activism included co-founding the Dallas County Voters League in 1933, and holding African-American voter registration drives in Selma from the 1930s through the '50s. Even Samuel's death in 1963 did not deter Amelia's commitment to improving the lives of African Americans.
In 1964, as the Civil Rights Movement was picking up speed, Amelia Boynton ran on the Democratic ticket for a seat in Congress from Alabama—becoming the first African-American woman to do so, as well as the first woman to run as a Democratic candidate for Congress in Alabama. Although she didn't win her seat, Boynton earned 10 percent of vote.
Also in 1964, Boynton and fellow civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. teamed up toward their common goals. At the time, Boynton figured largely as an activist in Selma. Still dedicated to securing suffrage for African Americans, she asked Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to come to Selma and help promote the cause. King eagerly accepted. Soon after, he and the SCLC set up their headquarters at Boynton's Selma home. There, they planned the Selma to Montgomery March of March 7, 1965.
profile name: Amelia Boynton profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
Explore our collection of pioneering African Americans in government and politics, including Alexander Lucius Twilight, the first African American to win election to public office; Hiram R. Revels, the first African American to serve in the U.S. Senate; Carol Moseley Braun, the first black woman elected to the Senate; and Amelia Boynton, who became both the first African-American woman and the first female Democratic candidate to run for a seat in Congress from Alabama in 1964. View full biographies, photos, videos and more, only at Biography.com.
African-American Firsts: Government & Politics 24 people in this group
Explore Biography.com's collection of pioneering African-American women with indelible legacies, including Charlotte E. Ray, Maya Angelou, Maritza Correia, Gwendolyn Brooks, Mary Mahoney, Oprah Winfrey, Octavia E. Butler and Shirley Chisholm. View full biographies, photos, videos and more, only at Biography.com.
African-American Firsts: Women 55 people in this group
Famous Academics 451 people in this group