I was nervous about asking Ms. Boynton to sign this photo of her laying unconscious from her beating, but she understood that I valued her sacrifice. In 1965, Amelia Boynton Robinson asked Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to come to Selma to add power to their voting rights campaign. They accepted, and set up headquarters in Ms. Robinson’s home. It was there at her home that they planned the Selma to Montgomery March which took place on March 7, 1965. Led by John Lewis and Hosea Williams, the event became known as Bloody Sunday when county and state police stopped the march and beat demonstrators bloody after they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Ms. Robinson was beaten unconscious; a photograph of her lying on Edmund Pettus Bridge went around the world. Ms. Robinson also suffered throat burns from the effects of tear gas.The events of Bloody Sunday and the later march on Montgomery galvanized national public opinion and led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. While Selma had a population that was 50 percent black, only 300 of the town’s African-American residents were registered as voters in 1965, after thousands had been arrested in protests. By March 1966, after passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, 11,000 were registered to vote.Ms. Amelia Boynton Robinson passed away in 2015 at the age of 103. She was portrayed by Lorraine Toussaint in the 2014 film “Selma”.
Click here to see autographed copy of Amelia Boynton Robinson’s autobiography.