On February 21, 2015, Christina Tobin, founder and chair of the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, interviewed historic Civil Rights leader, Amelia Boynton Robinson. In this earth shattering interview, Amelia leads a discussion that sheds vivid and intimate knowledge of an era largely characterized by struggle, perseverance, and bold leadership in the face of tyranny: the American Civil Rights Movement. Amelia’s resiliency is magnified by her ability to articulate key moments in history with absolute conviction, honor, and self-awareness.
Christina engages Amelia on many powerful and emotional topics that span Amelia’s beautiful 103 years of life. The interview begins with a brief introduction of Amelia’s landmark accomplishments (1:19). The interview continues with follow-on discussions covering Amelia’s early relationship with her inspirational parents, early support of the Women Suffrage movement during the 1920’s, registration for voting during times of extreme discrimination (3:20), memories and the influence of her husband Samuel William Boynton, introduction to the great scientist George Washington Carver (7:40) and Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King (15:09), non-violent direct action towards national social change, the true and fictitious accounts of Selma and the march that would later be called “Bloody Sunday,” (21:30) and running for Congress in 1964 (24:00).
Amelia’s first person accounts of what some may consider to be the most pivotal moments in United States history have the capacity to engender deep feelings of passion and inspiration. Her words represent beacons of knowledge and wisdom from the past, perfectly structured so as to guide future generations to greater heights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
“I was born with no fear whatsoever. As my mother used to say, ‘be sure you’re right, then go ahead,’ and that always felt that it was my privilege to become a registered voter.”
– Amelia Boynton Robinson
The interview finished up with Amelia’s views on the power of grassroots organizations and how these organizations have the capacity to change the world. Amelia and Christina speak directly to the youth of the nation in a motivational call to action that could significantly alter the socio-political construct of American culture. Amelia often says that “a voteless people is a hopeless people.” She also points out, that it was her husband Sam Boynton’s dying wish to see all the African-Americans in Alabama registered to vote, and Amelia swore she would get that done, and sought out Martin Luther King for that reason. She has recently said that one thing she wants to see before she transitions is for every young American between the ages of 18 and 30 to register to vote (26:08). “Register independent if you don’t have faith in the particular candidates, but have faith in yourself.”
Amelia is scheduled to deliver a keynote address at Free and Equal’s United We Stand Festival this Fall in Colorado. Amelia is an inspiration for the past, the present, and the future. Her presence at the 2015 United We Stand Festival will help ignite a movement towards open and honest elections and will highlight the monumental obstacles that can be overcome when passion meets honest leadership.
Please visit Amelia’s website to make donations towards her timeless cause: http://villageofhope-tuskegee.com
Photography by Piero F. Giunti (Visionary Rebel Productions). Video production & editing by Jared Petsche of Open Media Foundation and Reel Politics. Publicity by Antonia Hall Communications.
Thanks to the Free and Equal National Team.
A heartfelt thanks to the sacrifices of Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Corretta Scott King, everyone who marched in Selma, Malcolm X, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, and to those in the present day who are fighting for peace, harmony, justice, liberty, and equality.