ADL Mourns the Passing of Civil Rights Activist Amelia Boynton Robinson

New York, NY, August 26, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed sorrow at the passing of Amelia Boynton Robinson, a civil rights activist whose courage and tenacity in Selma helped to secure the right to vote for millions of Americans.

Ms. Boynton Robinson, who in 1964 became the first African American woman to run for Congress in Alabama, asked Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to go to Selma to advocate for voting rights.  A lead organizer of the march that would later be known as Bloody Sunday, Ms. Boynton Robinson was beaten unconscious by police on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Iconic newspaper images of her lying unconscious that day would help galvanize national support for the Voting Rights Act. Ms. Boynton Robinson was a presidential guest of honor at the signing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, and actress Lorraine Toussaint portrayed her role in the movie “Selma.”

Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL National Chair, and Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

Ms. Boynton Robinson was a true heroine of the civil rights movement.  In 1964, when people were being beaten and murdered simply for advocating for the right to vote, she dared to become the first African American woman to run for Congress in Alabama.  The following year, Ms. Boynton Robinson was on the front lines in the Selma march, literally putting her life on the line for civil rights.

Ms. Boynton Robinson’s incredible courage in the face of real danger helped to pass the Voting Rights Act, securing the right to vote for millions of Americans.  All of us in the United States owe her a debt of gratitude. 

As we mourn the passing of Ms. Boynton Robinson and extend our sympathies to her family, we also recommit to continuing her legacy of securing the right to vote for all Americans.


ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.

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