7 Amazing Amelia Boynton Robinson Quotes That Showcase Just How Extraordinary She Was
Amelia Boynton Robinson, a fearless civil rights activist known for her participation in the historic 1965 Selma march, died in Montgomery, Alabama Wednesday at the age of 104. Robinson's life was depicted in the movie Selma last year; she had helped organize the march that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and was the subject of a famous photo that shows her knocked unconscious by Alabama troopers. Her devotion to civil rights activism lasted her entire life, and inspiring quotes from Robinson show what a brave and motivated woman she was.
Robinson, who grew up in Savannah, Georgia, was initially an educator and tried to register Southern black voters from the 1930s onwards. After meeting Dr. Martin Luther King, she became involved in his Southern Christian Leadership Conference and let civil rights leaders meet in her home in Selma, where the 1965 march was planned and the first draft of the Voting Rights Act was written. In 1964, she unsuccessfully ran for Congress, but became the first African-American in Alabama to try for a congressional seat. On the 50th anniversary of the Selma march this year, Robinson crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the site of the infamously violent march, while holding President Obama's hand.
Here are seven inspirational quotes from Robinson that perfectly commemorate her extraordinary life.
On Bloody Sunday
In an interview with The New York Post in December, Robinson said of the violence during the Selma march that led to the name "Bloody Sunday":
I wasn’t looking for notoriety [when we marched]. But if that’s what it took [to get attention], I didn’t care how many licks I got. It just made me even more determined to fight for our cause.
On Young People
She also told The New York Post that young people today need to understand black history.
It’s important that young people know about the struggles we faced to get to the point we are today. Only then will they appreciate the hard-won freedom of blacks in this country.
On White Activists
In her book, Bridge Across Jordan , Robinson discussed how it felt to see white people joining the civil rights movement. She wrote:
I can never do justice to the great feeling of amazement and encouragement I felt when, perhaps for the first time in American history, white citizens of a Southern state banded together to come to Selma and show their indignation about the injustices against the African-Americans.
Robinson doesn't believe in race. She told The New York Post:
Only until all human beings begin to recognize themselves as human beings will prejudice be gone forever. People ask me what race I am, but there is no such thing as race. I just answer: "I’m a member of the human race."
On Hating Others
In 2013, she told CNN that she forgave the troopers who beat her during Bloody Sunday. She said:
I was brought up by people who loved others. I love people. We had no animosity. We had no feeling that we hate anyone.
On Knowing Where You've Been
She also told CNN that there would be many more Selmas and many more pivotal moments in black history, saying:
You can never know where you are going unless you know where you have been.
When she ran for Congress in 1964, voting rights were the center of her platform. This was her motto:
A voteless people is a hopeless people.