America has lost a warrior of the Civil Rights Movement. Amelia Boynton Robinson died today in Alabama of a massive stroke. She was 104 years old.
Reports WSFA in Montgomery, Alabama:
Boynton’s family has released the following statement in regards to her death:
“After being hospitalized last month following a massive stroke, Dr. Amelia Boynton Robinson’s health continued to deteriorate. With deep sadness, we announce that she passed peaceably this morning with family and friends surrounding her at approximately 2:20 a.m. in Noland Hospital of Montgomery in Alabama. Funeral arrangements will be announced later. Thank you. The Family
“The Family wishes to thank all who have contributed to Dr. Boynton Robinson’s medical expenses. There is still a need for financial assistance. Please feel free to make your contributions directly at PNC Bank, 102 East Rosa Parks Avenue, Tuskegee, Alabama 36083, under the ‘Amelia Boynton Robinson Conservatorship Account.’”
Boynton Robinson had a pivotal role in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March for voting rights, which helped usher in the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – a role that was later depicted in the movie Selma. She approached Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to come to Selma and nearly lost her life on “Bloody Sunday.” A year earlier, she became the first African-American woman from Alabama to run for Congress.
This past January, Boynton Robinson attended the State of the Union address, wheeled in by fellow “Bloody Sunday” marcher Rep. John Lewis (D, Georgia). She was there at the invitation of Rep. Terri Sewell (D, Alabama), who later asked that Boynton be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She had also been slated to receive a Phoenix Award from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation on Sept. 19 in Washington, D.C.
Wednesday afternoon President Barack Obama made the following statement about Boynton Robinson’s passing:
Amelia Boynton Robinson was a dedicated and courageous leader in the fight for civil rights. For most of her 104 years, Amelia committed herself to a simple, American principle: that everybody deserves the right to vote. Fifty years ago, she marched in Selma, and the quiet heroism of those marchers helped pave the way for the landmark Voting Rights Act. But for the rest of her life, she kept marching – to make sure the law was upheld, and barriers to the polls torn down. And America is so fortunate she did. To honor the legacy of an American hero like Amelia Boynton requires only that we follow her example – that all of us fight to protect everyone’s right to vote. Earlier this year, in Selma, Michelle and I had the honor to walk with Amelia and other foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement. She was as strong, as hopeful, and as indomitable of spirit – as quintessentially American – as I’m sure she was that day 50 years ago. And we offer our thoughts, our prayers, and our enduring gratitude to everyone who loved her.
Said Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D. N.C.), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, in a statement:
Today we mourn the passing of a remarkable citizen, Mrs. Amelia Boynton Robinson, a civil rights activist and one of the leaders of the 1965 Bloody Sunday march of 1965. Often referred to as the matriarch of our country’s Civil Rights Movement, Mrs. Boynton Robinson worked tirelessly on the behalf of those who were discriminated against and disenfranchised, and she stood courageously in the fight to ensure voting rights for every citizen in this nation. Mrs. Boynton Robinson was committed to equality until her death and was a champion for African Americans when our voices were not yet heard. Fifty years ago, Mrs. Boynton Robinson walked bravely across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma to ensure that all African Americans had equal opportunity and the right to vote. Her walk was not in vain, and we remain forever grateful for her contributions and dedicated service to civil rights in America.
SOURCES: WSFA, The White House, Congressional Black Caucus| PHOTO CREDIT: Getty
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