Civil rights activist Amelia Boynton Robinson, icon of 'Bloody Sunday' march, dies at 104 | AL.com
Civil rights activist Amelia Boynton Robinson, icon of 'Bloody Sunday' march, dies at 104
Civil rights activist Amelia Boynton Robinson, who was brutally beaten during the "Bloody Sunday" march in 1965, has died. She was 104.
She had suffered a stroke earlier this year and been hospitalized at Nolan Hospital in Montgomery since July 10. She died this morning at 2:21 a.m., said her niece, Germaine Bowser, whom Robinson raised as her daughter.
"She had two more strokes after she went in," Bowser said. "We knew she was a fighter. She was a feisty woman. She loved life."
Robinson had been active in voter registration in the 1930s and became a symbol of the brutality of Bloody Sunday when she and other marchers were beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma on March 7, 1965. Boynton was beaten unconscious by state troopers and photographs of her lying on the road were published around the world.
"To me she was a hero," Bowser said. "She was fearless. We had the Ku Klux Klan shooting in our windows, throwing rocks, calling, threatening to bomb the house. She would say, well, they're afraid of us. She was calm. She took it in stride."
Boynton's beating in Selma played out dramatically in TV news reports and was dramatized in the movie "Selma," released in 2014. Actress Lorraine Touissant portrayed Boynton in the movie.
"We stood in front of the TV and watched the beatdown," Bowser said. "We couldn't do anything to help our mother. I don't think the beatdown in the movie came close to the beatdown we saw in black-and-white on TV."
Boynton's house at 1315 Lapsley Street in Selma in 1965 served as a headquarters of the Selma march planning, with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders convening there.
"It's where everybody came to eat," Bowser said. "They used it as a headquarters. They always ate at mom's house."