President Biden has signed an executive order promoting voter access to the polls, as Republican state legislators across the U.S. advance bills to restrict voting rights. His order came on the 56th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, when African Americans and their allies tried to march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, demanding the right to vote. As they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, they were violently attacked by the Alabama State Police, beaten with nightsticks and electric cattle prods, set upon by police dogs and tear-gassed. In 2015, Democracy Now! was in Selma for the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, where we spoke with Amelia Boynton Robinson, a lifelong voting rights activist who was beaten unconscious that day in 1965. Her wheelchair was being pushed by Rev. Jesse Jackson Jr. She was 103 years old when we spoke.
Amy Goodman: “What gave you the courage that day to face those state troopers?”
Amelia Boynton Robinson: “I was born that way. My mother was a civil rights activist back then, when I was born. And I worked with her at 11 years old. I worked with her when women’s suffrage became reality.”