By Cherri Gregg

By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Civil Rights icon Amelia Boynton Robinson died Wednesday morning. She helped plan and lead the historic march in Selma and was there for the 50th anniversary alongside President Obama earlier this year.

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“She was a very, very strong woman up until the last moment,” says Herman Winters III. “It was probably time for her to take a rest.”

Winters says he saw his great aunt Amelia Boynton Robinson the day before she passed and the 104-year-old dedicated her life to voting rights and the civil rights movement.



Boynton Robinson was beaten unconscious by Alabama State Troopers on Bloody Sunday and the image of her lying near the Pettus Bridge changed the course of the movement.

“The civil rights act was actually written in her kitchen,” says Loretta Winters, president of the Gloucester County NAACP. “She had no fear. She told Dr. King and other leaders — you come to my house, this is where we’ll meet. This will be our headquarters.”

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Herman and Loretta Winters marched alongside their Aunt Amelia in March to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Selma March. Loretta says Boynton Robinson was happy that day:

“It was truly amazing to be there with so many people and celebrating this cause and her being the center of attention of it.”


Amelia Boynton Robinson (bottom center) at the Selma 50th celebration with Loretta Winters (to her right). (Credit Herman Winters)

Amelia Boynton Robinson at the Selma 50th celebration with Loretta Winters (to her right). (Credit Herman Winters)


The Winters say she’d want her legacy to be for young folks to continue the work.

“Instead of her legacy, we really need to focus on carrying on this work,” says Herman, “What better way to honor her than to continue working for those who cannot speak for themselves?”

The Winters say Boynton Robinson fell ill after a stroke in recent days and died around 2:20 a.m., surrounded by loved ones. Boynton Robinson was born in Savannah, Georgia where she worked as an educator. She also worked for the US Dept of Agriculture in Selma Alabama. Boynton Robinson is said to be a 1927 graduate from Tuskegee University.

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The Winters say Boynton Robinson’s life will be celebrated in both Selma and Tuskegee Labor Day Weekend, but arrangements are still being planned.