On Wednesday, the world lost one of its most courageous spirits- Amelia Boyton Robinson. While her one hundred and four years sounds plentiful to most, the melancholy feelings that linger in her absence marks the tragedy of a breed that is literally dying or dead.
Boyton Robinson was a pivotal presence in the civil rights movement, as one of initial participants in the attempt to cross the Edmund Petters Bridge. Met by the incorrigible violence of police officers, these efforts of Selma participants
would become known as Bloody Sunday. Boyton Robinson became the portrait of the revolution, her courage and tenacity captured in a photo of her battered and unconscious frame rendered at the hands of police. The power of this photo lies in the unveiling of an ignored reality. The photo of Boyton Robinson’s beaten and unconscious body revealed the police’s unwavering prejudice and merciless practice of systematic racism against blacks.
While contemporary society consists of some who are crafted in the image of Boyton Robinson, we are generally deficient of those willing to dedicate their time, bodies or lives to a purpose larger than themselves.
As black people, are lives are soiled in the affects of racism upon birth. However, we all play our hand differently. Some swim in an sea of oblivion, others are willing to die, few are willing to kill, and even fewer are willing to live in pursuit of uplifting the race.
Thus, I salute Mrs. Boyton Robinson as she encompassed the attributes of a true freedom fighter. She was willing to die, but most importantly she was willing to live for change. Although I am forever indebted to her fearlessness in enabling the opportunities within my grasp today; I am grateful to Mrs. Boyton Robinson for her footprints in a legacy of courage.
May she rest in the peace that she guided us in fighting for.