Services finalized for voting rights icon Boynton Robinson

Published 1:11 am Saturday, September 5, 2015

Plans have been finalized to honor the matriarch of the voting rights movement, Dr. Amelia Boynton Robinson.

The first service is today in Selma at Tabernacle Baptist Church, a historic site in the movement where the first mass meeting for voting rights was held, at 11 a.m.

According to Rose Sanders, who helped organize the services, Boynton Robinson will be taken from Walker Mortuary to the church at 9 a.m. on a horse-drawn buggy.

Email newsletter signup

The horse and buggy was what Boynton Robinson requested as one of her final wishes.

“For everything that she did for Selma and the world, we want our organization to give all of that love back to her,” said Catrena Carter, who also helped organize the service.

Foot soldiers and participants in the voting rights movement that worked alongside Boynton Robinson in her continuous fight for the right to vote will lead the precession to Tabernacle.

Boynton Robinson’s body will lie in state until 11 a.m., which is when the service will begin.

According to Sanders, Loretta Lynch, the first African American female U.S. Attorney General, Congressman John Lewis, Congresswoman Terri Sewell, U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Dr. Bernard Lafayette Jr. and others will be in attendance.

Sanders said many of them will speak. Bruce Boynton, Boynton Robinson’s son, and family will also be presented with a special letter written by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

There will also be a service for Boynton Robinson on Sunday in Tuskegee, where she lived. She will lie in state from 10 a.m. until noon, which is when her funeral will begin.

Sanders said Boynton Robinson will be cremated and brought back to Selma for a Tuesday service at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where she was beaten unconscious on the day that became known as “Bloody Sunday” 50 years ago.

“The final bridge crossing ceremony will be held at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge at 1 p.m.,” Sanders said.

“Her final desire was that there will be a ceremony at the foot of the bridge where negro spirituals will be sung by three choirs, and there will be a litany in honor of her life,” Sanders said. “We will leave Brown Chapel at 1 p.m.”

After the ceremony, Boynton Robinson’s ashes will be carried across the bridge one last time.

“There will be a ceremony they call ceremony of the sacred ashes, and that will be the final thing,” Sanders said. “We will have a homegoing at the Bridge Theater at the foot of the bridge. We will show a video that we did with her singing the songs that she wanted at her funeral.”

Mayor George Evans said the city of Selma also plans to sign a proclamation making Tuesday Amelia Boynton Robinson day.

Boynton Robinson passed away in Montgomery on Aug. 26 after she suffered a massive stroke in July.

All three services are open to the public.