Betty White Boynton

Betty White Boynton was born in Selma, Alabama on July 22, 1948 to Reverta and James White. Her civil rights activities began in 1964 at the age of 14 years when she attended a mass meeting for young people conducted by Mrs. Amelia Boynton and Marie Foster. This caused her to actively protest against the denial of Blacks, including her parents, of the right to vote in 1965. She was first arrested along with other marchers at the Dallas County Courthouse by Sheriff Jim Clark and his deputies and taken to the old National Guard Armory on Washington Street where they were made to push the walls. They were later taken to Camp Selma prison about seven miles out of town where they were fingerprinted and placed in cells. They later boarded school buses and were taken to Hudson High School and released. She, and others, continued to attend mass meetings and to protest despite intimidation.

In March 1965, before the BIoody Sunday march there were rumors that Sheriff Clark, his deputies and state troopers might cause violence to the marchers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Rev. Hosea Williams of S.C.L.C. requested Gloria Bostic, Mary Moore, three other youth and Boynton ride across the Bridge with him. They saw troopers and white men not in uniform but saw no horses. The horses were hidden behind the buildings. This was reported to the marchers and the march proceeded. The rest is history.

Since Bloody Sunday Boynton has remained an active civil rights fighter and foot soldier. She was a leader in the protests against the Selma Board of Education's system of tracking/ability grouping, which placed Black students in courses not designed to prepare them for college but instead for a life of poverty and/or prison, and the termination of its first BIack Superintendent because he tried to ensure that all children took Algebra. Also, she actively campaigned for the election of Selma's first Black mayor and has continued to work registering voters and campaigning for worthy candidates, as well as helping to organize around other social justice issues.

© 2018 Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth, & Reconciliation

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8 Mulberry Rd.,  Selma, AL 36703   |   (334) 526-4539   |   info@SelmaCNTR.org