Interview with Amelia Boynton Robinson


Amelia Boynton Robinson:

Our objective was to see the governor and let the governor know that we were demanding that we become registered voters being American citizens. We did not know that he was in cahoots with the state troopers who lined the both sides of the road while we were en route to see him. He gave them the opportunity, the state troopers and anybody else that he wanted to. When we got to the first light across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, there was a wall of officers right across the street that we were going to march on. And we were told to stop. Don't go any farther. Jose Williams [sic aka Hosea Williams], who was at the head said, "May I have something to say?" And through the bullhorn that was, "No, you cannot have anything to say. Charge on them, men." And the men came from the right side, from the left side from in front of us. They came upon us and started beating us with their nightsticks. They started cattle prodding us. They started gassing us with gas. The helicopters were ahead of us, and I said to the lady who was with me, "What in the world do these people mean?" And I remember having seen a horse, a white horse, and then I saw several other horses. One of the officers came to me, state trooper, and he hit me across the back of my neck. And I made a slight turn and he hit me again, and I remember having fallen to the ground. From that, I don't remember anything else, except the pictures that I saw and what was told to me. And that was this, that every person, every black person they saw, they started beating on them. They tried to run the horses over some of them, and the horses would not step on them. But they took their nightsticks and they gassed them, and I was gassed. And I saw the picture where I was lying on the ground and this gas was being pumped over me, possibly thinking that, this is the leader, if we get them we will destroy the movement. I understand that someone said, "Get out of the road." The officers came out and said, "Get out." And realizing that I could not move somebody said, "She's dead." "Well," he said, "if she's dead just pull her on the side and let the buzzards eat her." Some of the people on the other side of the bridge, said to Clark, "Jim Clark, send an ambulance over there. Somebody is dead and some people are hurt badly." And he said, "I'm not going to send any ambulance over there. Let them do the best they can." Someone else said to him, "If you don't send an ambulance over there you're going to chaos on your hands because these people are going to be angry enough to tear this town up." Then he permitted the ambulance to come. I was put in the ambulance and was taken to this church, Brown Chapel AME Church. They could not revive me. They sent me to the hospital. And when I knew anything I was in the hospital