Interview with Amelia Boynton Robinson
QUESTION 13
INTERVIEWER:

LET ME SKIP AHEAD TO MARCH 7TH, 1965. WHEN YOU GOT UP THAT MORNING, DID YOU HAVE A, YOU KNOW THERE WERE PLANS FOR A MARCH THAT DAY, DID YOU HAVE A SENSE OF—WELL, JUST GIVE ME YOUR SENSE OF WHAT YOU FELT LIKE THAT MORNING. YOU DIDN'T KNOW WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN. WAS IT LIKE ANY OTHER DAY, OR?

Amelia Boynton Robinson:

Well, having been a leader through the years, and having laid the foundation for the civil rights movement from 1930 until 1964, I felt as though all through that time it was my duty to lead. I felt that way because I came first from a family that was involved in politics. Then too, I knew that I could not let the people down. I had a young person that there ask me that day—that we were getting ready to leave the church—on this March, which was Bloody Sunday, on the 7th of March. This youngster said to me, "Are you going to march Mrs. Boynton?" I said, "Yes, I'm going to march." So she said, "I'm going to march too." I had no feeling of what was going to happen, but I knew one thing, that I was determined to go all the way. I notified my office and my secretary that I may not be back that day. We started out with this long line. I was with Mrs.—with one more person. We started out together. We were the first women in the march. And we went on, I noticed that Jim Clark did not tell us to walk as he had done before. Because during the other marches and demonstrations we had down to the courthouse, and he would tell us, march one at a time, you can't couple up. But this particular time, he permitted us to march two at a time, and instead of being four feet apart he just let us march as closely as we wished. We marched on and when we got across the river, I said to the lady who was with me, "This is the strangest thing I ever saw. Just look at those, those officers. They look like tin soldiers." They were so close together. These were the deputies, the sheriff, the people whom he had deputized which were people he had gotten out of the field. Whites, of course, out of the turn time still, out of any place he could get them, because he told them, if you want to be deputized, and want to be given a gun, you come to the sheriff's office. Consequently, they came in large numbers and almost every white man who wanted to hurt a black person was given a gun, and was given permission to carry that gun and became deputized. Adding to that number of local people, we had the state troopers who had their uniforms on and lined the two sides of the bridge, of the land across the bridge, and I, we walked on and finally, when—