(COMMON DREAMS) Andrea Germanos — Civil rights activist Amelia Boynton Robinson, who endured brutal beatings by state troopers during the “Bloody Sunday” march she helped organize, died Wednesday. She was 104.
Boynton Robinson, who’s been called the matriarch of the civil rights movement, had been hospitalized since July following a stroke.
She was one of the organizers of that 1965 march of roughly 600 demonstrators from Selma to Montgomery to demand the right to vote. As the protesters attempted to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they faced state troopers armed with tear gas and clubs. Boynton Robinson was beaten unconscious, and images of her laying on the ground grabbed headlines. The New York Times reports that news coverage of the march
was considered pivotal in winning wide popular support for the civil rights movement. After her release [from teh hospital], Mrs. Boynton Robinson was a guest of honor at the White House on Aug. 6, 1965, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the federal Voting Rights Act into law, an event seen as a direct consequence of the marches.
She marked the 50th anniversary of the pivotal action this March at the bridge, this time holding the hand of President Barack Obama.
As the Southern Poverty Law Center notes, her fight for justice began well before the Selma march and “[l]ong before D.r King came to Selma,” as her family had been fighting for voting rights for decades.
“This nation has lost a crusader, a warrior, and a fighter for justice,” Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who helped lead the Bloody Sunday march, said in a statement Wednesday.