Amelia Boynton attended the 2015 State Of The Union address at the US Capitol Building as the honored guest of President Obama.
Ms. Boynton is now 103 years old and her life story continues to be written.
This great citizen was born Amelia Platts on August 18, 1911 in Savannah, Georgia. She later married Samuel Boynton. As a young woman in the 1930s through the 1950s she was brave enough to hold black voter registration drives in Selma, Alabama. Given the vicious hatred and abuse of Black folks in the deep south at that time, she was risking her life by participating in any effort to help her people gain full citizenship. My father was born in Savannah a few years after Amelia and he told us stories of the abuse and hardships his family and other Blacks endured in the Jim Crow South.
In 1964 Amelia Boynton became both the first African-American woman and the first female Democratic candidate to run for a seat in Congress from Alabama. She did not win the election but she did get 10% of the vote. That was no small feat for any person of color at that time. Still committed to securing voting rights for African-Americans, she asked Dr. Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to come to Selma, Alabama to help promote this effort. Ms. Boynton was one of the people behind the now famous voting rights marches in Selma.
Anyone reading this article should spend some time researching this great woman and the rights she helped us to secure for ourselves and our descendents.
This is not just history. It is current events. Amelia has chosen to follow in the footsteps of the thousands who risked the little they had to make things better for all of us. We must ask ourselves if we have wasted the sacrifices made for our benefit by these brave people. I believe we must respect these courageous people by continuing to work for justice and opportunity for all.
Article by Stephen Maddox Sr.