Black History Hero You May Never Have Heard Of

By Maggie Maloney, Bianca Rodriguez and Zoe Guy

Amelia Boynton Robinson

Boynton Robinson has been recognized for her tireless civil rights advocacy in recent years—including a portrayal in 2014’s Selma —but many may not know just how pivotal a figure she was. Boynton Robinson began her civil rights activism in the 1930s, when she started advocating for voting rights after becoming one of the few African-American women registered to vote in Selma, Alabama. Boynton Robinson became the first African-American woman in Alabama to run for Congress in 1964 and the following year, she helped Martin Luther King Jr. plan the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama for March 7, 1965, now known as “Bloody Sunday.” Boynton Robinson and the roughly 600 demonstrators were forcefully attack by state troopers with tear gas, billy clubs, and whips. Boynton Robinson was hospitalized after the march and a horrific photo of her injuries was widely circulated. Later, in 1965, Boynton Robinson was invited to the White House when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, and in 1990, she received the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Medal.