Sam, Amelia Boynton to be honored

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 15, 2002

Selma will honor two of her own this weekend with a series of special events celebrating the internationally acclaimed human rights contributions of Sam and Amelia Boynton.

The weekend begins with a festival of food and entertainment from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Saturday in the courtyard of Selma University. The festivities continue with a banquet Sunday at 3:00 p.m. at the Carl Morgan Convention Center. It is jointly sponsored by Selma City Council Ward 7 and the National Voting Rights Museum.

The banquet is a birthday celebration for Amelia Boynton-Robinson, and a tribute to her deceased husband S.W. Boynton. The public is invited to attend both events. Reservations are requested for the banquet through the Museum.

Both Mayor James Perkins Jr. and Gov. Don Siegelman have issued proclamations as to the historical significance of S.W. and Amelia Boynton, remembering their colossal fight for human rights.

The Boyntons began registering blacks to vote and encouraging them to work for themselves and their families as early as 1929. As Dallas County extension agents, the Boyntons were appalled by the conditions in which blacks in rural communities lived. Their mission was to improve the economic and political empowerment of blacks.

Among his many contributions to the Dallas County area, S.W. Boynton is credited with building 4-H for blacks in rural areas, leading them to purchase 120 acres now known as &uot;Joy Land,&uot; and the erection of the Colored Community Center that stands behind the present day city court building.

He is also credited with testifying before a U.S. Senate sub-committee in the successful passage of the 1957 Civil Rights Bill and with soliciting and receiving an investigation by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission into the denial of the rights of blacks to vote in Alabama. Upon his death in 1963, the first mass meeting was held in Selma, organizing individuals to take on the movement for voting rights.

Robinson said she promised her first husband on his deathbed that she would continue the fight for justice and equality. She is called a heroine of the civil rights movement. During the march from Selma to Montgomery, she was trampled, beaten and left for dead by mounted Alabama State Troopers.

Since that time, Robinson has made her mark on the world as an author and international lecturer lobbying for human rights. She has written much, including the book &uot;Bridge Across Jordan&uot; and the acclaimed play &uot;Through the Years.&uot; Her work with the Schiller Institute has enabled her to speak to dignitaries throughout Europe and Asia. She continues to travel for peace throughout the world. She returned from Iran and Iraq less than a month ago.

S.W. Boynton and Amelia Boynton are the parents of two sons, Samuel William Boynton Jr. and Selma Attorney Bruce Boynton. As a young law student, Bruce Boynton refused to move from a white’s only lunch counter that later spawned the landmark Supreme Court decision in Boynton v. The Commonwealth of Virginia, the case that gave birth to the Freedom Riders.

He has also followed his father’s initiative by being part of the legal counsel on Mapp v. Ohio, the longest running desegregation case in the country that was only settled in 1993.