103-year-old Civil Rights Icon Joins Rep. Terri Sewell for Presidential Address
Alabama Congresswoman Terri Sewell will have a special guest with her as President Barack Obama presents his state of the union address tonight: 103-year-old voting rights activist Amelia Boynton.
Boynton, who was portrayed by actress Lorraine Toussaint in the movie "Selma,"' will join Sewell, herself a Selma native, for the Washington D.C. address. Sewell, D-Birmingham, said she is honored to be joined by Boynton.
"Selma is a very powerful movie about a very powerful movement. Amelia Boynton was one of the courageous foot soldiers who dared to challenge an unfair and unjust system that kept African Americans from exercising their constitutionally protected right to vote," Sewell said.
"We have come too far to turn back. I hope her presence at the State of the Union reminds all of us about the importance of voting and sacrifices brave American like Amelia Boynton endured so this nation could live up to the ideals of equality and justice for all."
A native of Savannah, Georgia who later moved to Selma, Boynton worked with Dr. Martin Luther King to plan the Selma March in 1965. She was among those crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge on what became known as "Bloody Sunday" and a photo of her beaten and bloody body drew national attention.
Here's another interesting fact. Boynton was the first African American woman in Alabama to run for Congress. Her host, Sewell, is the first African American woman from Alabama elected to Congress.