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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

Rep. Waters Mourns the Passing of Voting Rights Activist Amelia Boynton Robinson

August 27, 2015
Press Release

LOS ANGELES – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, issued the following statement upon the passing of voting rights activist Amelia Boynton Robinson:

 

“Our nation and our community suffered yet another tremendous loss yesterday. Amelia Boynton Robinson was a visionary and a fighter. She dedicated her entire life to the cause of advancing civil rights and voting rights for African-Americans.

 

As an activist and organizer in the south during Jim Crow, her dream was simple yet ambitious: that every American, regardless of the color of their skin, deserved the right to vote. As early as the 1930’s, she risked her life registering to vote, and spent the decades after fighting to ensure other African-Americans in her community had access to the ballot box.

 

And of course, many of us recall the photos of Amelia being knocked unconscious by the police of the Edmund Pettus Bridge; images that are eerily relevant today.

 

As a result of those events on Bloody Sunday and the demonstrations Amelia led in Selma, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, effectively removing barriers to the polls for African-Americans and minorities across the country. Amelia exhibited tremendous strength and resolve during a time when people risked their lives to vote -- a responsibility far too many take for granted today.

 

Earlier this year, I had the privilege of joining Amelia for the 50th anniversary of the March on Selma. It was a profound and moving moment; it’s hard to imagine the Voting Rights Act without Amelia, without her vision and her bravery. We owe it to her – and to all of those who died and risked their lives fighting for the right to vote – to finally restore the protections of the Voting Rights Act, so all Americans have equal access to the ballot box.”

 

Amelia Boynton Robinson, known as the matriarch of the voting rights movement, died on Wednesday in Montgomery, Alabama, at the age of 104. She was one of the organizers of the March on Selma, and helped persuade Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to bring the Civil Rights Movement to the city. On March 7, 1965 – known as Bloody Sunday – Amelia was knocked unconscious as she and other demonstrators tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge. She was a guest of President Lyndon Johnson’s when he signed the Voting Rights Act at the White House on August 6, 1965.