Interview with Amelia Boynton Robinson
QUESTION 4
INTERVIEWER:

LET'S SKIP AHEAD TO WHEN YOU, ALONG WITH YOUR HUSBAND, YOU'RE NOW VOUCHING FOR PEOPLE WHEN THEY—FOR BLACKS WHO WANT TO VOTE. AND COULD YOU GIVE ME, JUST PAINT A PICTURE FOR PEOPLE WHO CAN'T IMAGINE WHAT IT MUST HAVE BEEN LIKE, OF WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO BE A BLACK PERSON AND TO TRY TO REGISTER TO VOTE. WHAT HAPPENED?

Amelia Boynton Robinson:

During the time before the civil rights movement started, which was about thirty years, between twenty-five and thirty years, before the whole country became interested and registration and voting for the more downtrodden people, my husband and I decided that we were going to help people to register. At that time, they had two pages to fill out. And these two pages were questions that were pretty hard for the average person to fill out. And it was terribly hard for those who were illiterate. We had more illiteracy in this county than they had in most counties throughout the state, or in any other state, but we would teach them how to fill these blanks out. We could not do it by coming in the open and doing it, so we started with the people with whom we worked who were the rural people. My husband as a county agent, and I as a home demonstration agent would have meetings in the rural churches, and even in the homes. And we would show them how to fill out these blanks, how to present themselves when they went down to the registration office. At that time, my husband was a registered voter and a voucher. Each person that came down to register had to have a voucher with him. But when he began to bring a number of people down there, three or four at one time—