Amelia Boynton Robinson was a leading civil rights activist who played a key role in the efforts that led to passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and was the first African American woman in Alabama to run for Congress. In 1933, Robinson and Rev. Frederick Reece founded the Dallas County Voters League. In 1964, the Dallas County Voters League invited Martin Luther King Jr. to Selma to help secure the right to vote for African Americans. The following year, Robinson helped plan and lead the failedarch from Selma to Montgomery that came to be known as “Bloody Sunday.” On March 7th 1965, she and approximately 600 marchers were met by police and Alabama State Troopers with tear gas and billy clubs at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge. When the Voting Rights Act was signed into law August 6, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson invited Robinson to attend as a guest of honor. In 1990, Robinson received the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Medal in honor of her life’s work for the advancement of human rights.
Photos courtesy of: Alabama Department of Archives and History, Alamy, Getty Images