Amelia Platts was born in Savannah Georgia in 1911 to George Platts and Anna Elizabeth Hicks Platts. From her parents, she and her siblings learned four principles of life: daily praying, always helping and showing compassion for others, standing up for the morally right, and becoming economically independent.
Amelia begins her public service to American voters and voting rights when, at age nine, she first goes with her mother in a horse-and-buggy to hand out leaflets for the Women's Suffrage Movement.
Amelia begins classes at Georgia State Industrial College for Colored Youth (now Savannah State U.) at age 14.
Amelia age 15
At age 16, Amelia begins her education with Dr. George Washington Carver at Tuskegee University, where she also runs track and is the captain of the girls basketball team.
Amelia Platts begins her career as teacher and leader in Dallas County, Alabama. She becomes a Demonstration Agent for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, for which she teaches every phase of home economics and employs the Booker T. Washington new idea of a “Moveable School” by giving instruction and demonstrations in farming and homemaking out in remote farming communities and homes, in 1930.
Amelia becomes a registered voter in 1932, one of the first Alabama African Americans not stopped by the tests held to prevent African Americans from voting.
Amelia and the Rev. Frederick Reece established the Dallas County Voters League in 1933 to help excluded citizens become registered voters.
Amelia marries Sam W. Boynton in 1936, beginning a 30-year partnership in bringing voting rights, property ownership and education to Blacks in poor, rural areas of Alabama.
To raise money to build a community center in Selma AL that would welcome Blacks, Amelia in 1936 writes her first stage play Through the Years, first performed in Selma and since then across the country and around the world into the 21st Century. With help from the WPA and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt the center opened.
Amelia and Sam Boynton from the 1930s onward helped many poor and Black families to finance ownership of their own farmland as to overcome obstacles at the ballot box.
Because the causes they serving are slowly rising across the USA, Amelia and Sam make their home not just a county or state headquarters for reformers but now a national one, welcoming at 1315 Lapsley Street, Selma, in the 1940s, 50s and 60s famous folks like G. W. Carver, M. L. King Jr., Mary McLeod Bethune, Ralph Bunch, Robert Kennedy, Duke Ellington, Joan Baez, Dick Gregory, Dorothy Height, Count Basie, Bill Cosby, John Lewis, James Bevel, Joseph P. Lowery Jr., Andrew Young and many others – as well as heroes and heroines less famous and officials and dignitaries from foreign lands.
Amelia meets Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King in 1954 at the Montgomery (AL) Dexter Street Baptist Church, where King was preacher.
In 1955 Amelia organizes the first boycott by Blacks in Alabama after a Selma woman died from a bus' dragging her, and that year Amelia personally boycotts most of the Selma white-owned stores that did not hire Blacks.
Amelia is friend and confidant of Rosa Parks before and when her deeds trigger Blacks' protests against busing injustices.
Amelia is, in 1964, the first black woman ever to seek a seat in the US Congress in Alabama; she receives 11 percent of the primary vote in a locale where only five percent of Blacks could vote; this makes her the first woman, white or black, to have the Democratic nomination in Alabama.
Amelia and Sam make their offices and home a headquarters for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Sit-ins, marches, campaigns, protests – these and other events are planned and judged at the Boynton home in Selma, bearing fruit all over the nation and beyond.
The “Bloody Sunday” attempted march from Selma to Montgomery to protest Blacks' exclusion from voting is planned at the Boynton home, Amelia marches, March 7, 1965, at the head of the demonstration. Selma Sheriff Jim Clark ordered officials to beat any protester who does not run away. Amelia was one of the first victims, she is struck down and assumed dead at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and in the days that followed, the famous photograph of Amelia aroused anger and disgust wherever it is printed, throughout America and the world.
Amelia fights and wins the case Amelia Boynton vs. The City of Selma and Dallas County. The case was against a law forbidding more than two Blacks from meeting or walking together on Selma sidewalks.
After Martin Luther King Jr.'s release from jail and after Amelia's release from the hospital, they and 15 US Congressmen meet at the home of Amelia and Sam to produce the first draft of the Voting Rights Act of 1965; later that year Amelia goes to the White House when President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Act into law.
Rev. King appoints Amelia to represent their political movement's causes to distant, diverse and often large audiences: Amelia speaks before 30,000 on the steps of Alabama's capitol, addresses the United Nations, and travels to speak throughout the USA, India, Pakistan, and many nations in Europe and Africa, carrying the messages of peace, justice and real progress.
Amelia, now in her 60s, writes Bridge Over Jordan and other creative works along with a tremendous volume of correspondence with inspirations and pragmatic advice for lovers of freedom and justice near and far.
As Amelia's goals and ideals faded from America's mainstream awareness, she turns her energies to the international construction of the Schiller Institute, taking the opportunity to lay foundations and open possibilities for a permanent mechanism of crusade for her ideals. The work involved travel, correspondence and other writing.
Works on the board of the Martin Luther King Center for Non-Violent Social Change in Atlanta.
In 2002, Amelia Boynton Robinson receives the medal of Italy's Lombardy Region from President Roberto Formigoni
Amelia, now in her 90s, brings a lawsuit in 2004 against the movie Selma Lord Selma (released 1999) and the Disney production company because it so falsely portrayed her in telling the story of Bloody Sunday. Amelia did not win the lawsuit.
In 2005, the Evelyn Gibson Lowery Heritage Tour and SCLC/W.O.M.E.N., Inc. built a tribute to Amelia Boynton-Robinson & Marie Foster (Selma, Alabama).
In 2007, Amelia attends the funeral of Sheriff Jim Clark, the man who gave the orders to have men beat her more than once.
Dr. Amelia Boynton Robinson celebrates her 100th birthday surrounded by friends of all ages and representatives of many communities, corporations and governments at her “Centennial Birthday Celebration” in August 2011 in Atlanta.
Thousands of delegates and others at the Democratic National Convention in 2012 in Charlotte rise to their feet to give Amelia a great ovation of recognition and love; she enjoyed a long day of reunions and new friends.
Amelia from 1965 to 2012 did not know the identity of the young man in that world famous, history changing photograph of Amelia on the ground on Bloody Sunday; just after her trip to Charlotte, the mystery is solved and she makes, at age 101, a public appearance at the very scene of her beating by the bridge to meet and thank Joe Jones for his brave kindness.
Let us repeat, from her parents, she and her siblings learned parents four principles of life: daily praying, always helping and showing compassion for others, standing up for the morally right, and becoming economically independent.