- 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.
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Some 600 protesters arrived to participate in the event, which would come to be known as "Bloody Sunday." On the Edmund Pettus Bridge, over the Alabama River in Selma, marchers were attacked by policemen with tear gas and billy clubs. Seventeen protesters were sent to the hospital, including Boynton,
who had been beaten unconscious. A newspaper photo of Boynton lying bloody and beaten drew national attention to the cause. Bloody Sunday prompted President Lyndon B. Johnson to sign the Voting Rights Act on August 6, 1965, with Boynton attending as the landmark event's guest of honor.
Boynton remarried in 1969, to a musician named Bob W. Billups. He died unexpectedly in a boating accident in 1973.
Boynton eventually married a third time, to former Tuskegee classmate James Robinson, and moved back to Tuskegee after the wedding. When Robinson died in 1988, Boynton stayed in Tuskegee. Serving as vice chair of the Schiller Institute, she has since remained active in promoting civil and human rights.
In 1990, Boynton was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Medal of Freedom.
Today, Boynton continues to tour the United States on behalf of the Schiller Institute, which describes its mission as "working around the world to defend the rights of all humanity to progress—material, moral and intellectual."
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