Selma native writes book on ‘Mother of Voting Rights Movement’

Published 11:28 am Tuesday, August 10, 2021

A former Selma Times-Journal reporter recently wrote a book on a Civil Rights Icon many called the “Mother of the Voting Rights Movement.”

Ronnie Barnes’ book, “Matriarch of the Voting Rights Movement,’’ recounts Amela Boynton Robinson’s journey during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s.

Boynton Robinson was one of the Courageous Eight and Foot Soldier who invited Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to Selma in 1963.

On March 8, 1965 to what became later known as “Bloody Sunday,”  Boynton Robinson was beaten unconscious at Edmund Pettus Bridge. That photo was spread across the front pages of newspapers across the country.

Boynton Robinson, who died in 2015, became the first black woman to run for Congress in Alabama.

Barnes, a Selma native, said the timing was perfect to get this generation to learn what Boynton Robinson meant to the Civil Rights Era.

“There will be no boredom in reading the book by any means,” Barnes said. “ In fact, it will take the reader on an adventure that will keep critics eyes glued to the pages feeling sorrow, pain, and joy of a rabble-rouser who gave America the right to vote.

“But most of all, Amelia’s biography will take the reader back in time to listen and see through the eyes of Amelia what it was like to live in the Black Belt in the city of Selma and Dallas County rural areas during the Jim Crow era.”

Barnes, who graduated from Selma High School and Wallace Community College-Selma, talked with Boynton Robinson’s daughter in law, Betty Boynton, who recalled her memories participating in the Voting Rights movement.

“Amelia Boynton Robinson really was the organizer of the voting rights movement,” Betty Boynton said. “‘It was the death of Jimmy Lee Jackson that inspired the voting rights march known as “Bloody Sunday.