Amelia Boynton Robinson, left, and Bernice King attend a reception honoring the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March on March 6, 2015. (Jason Davis/Getty Images File Photo for 51 Miles Forward presented by Hyundai Motor America)
Amelia Boynton Robinson, the 104-year-old civil rights activist whose role in the 1965 Bloody Sunday march from Selma to Montgomery was celebrated in this year’s 50th anniversary of the event, in the movie “Selma” and by her appearance at this year’s State of the Union, died Wednesday. She was 104.
“Mrs. Amelia Boynton Robinson will not only be remembered for her invaluable contributions as a matriarch of the voting rights movement but she was also the first black woman from the State of Alabama to run for Congress. Without her courageous campaign for the 7th Congressional District, I know that my election to this seat in 2010 would not have been possible. Her sacrifices paved the way for me to walk the halls of Congress and I will carry my love and admiration for her in my heart each and every day,” Rep. Terri A. Sewell, D-Ala., who represents Selma, said in a statement. Robinson was Sewell’s guest for the 2015 State of the Union address, where the elderly activist met with President Barack Obama before his speech in a holding room in the Capitol.
Her home in Selma was used for planning the March 1965 march. On the fateful Bloody Sunday, she was among those, including now-Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., savagely beaten by Alabama troopers and vigilantes on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Her traumatic experience in 1965 came full circle when she crossed the bridge in March in a wheelchair beside Obama, the first black president.
“Amelia Boynton never got weary. She never gave up. She never gave in. She kept the faith. She kept on defending the need to respect human dignity in America. Her work and her accomplishments were a source of inspiration for so many people in the South and around our country,” Lewis said in a statement.
Robinson’s age had been a matter of debate among her, friends and the media. She previously gave her age this year to be 105, but media outlets and her family seemed to have settled on her age now, at 104.
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