Bruce Boynton, the inspiration for Freedom Rides, passed away at the age of 83

Hank Sanders, a friend of the former Senate of the state of Alabama, Boynton, said the civil rights attorney and Alabama’s first black special prosecutor died in Selma earlier this week of cancer.

Boynton’s place in the Freedom Rides movement began in 1958 while he was a student at Howard University Law School in Washington.

Traveling by bus to Alabama, Boynton got out to eat when the bus stopped for a break in Richmond, Virginia.

He said he sat down in the “clinically clean” white area of ​​the restaurant after seeing the untidy “blacks” section. He placed his order with the waitress.

“He went and came back with the manager. The manager poked his finger in my face and said …” move “with racial slander,” Boynton recalled in his interview. – And I knew I wasn’t moving and I refused, and that’s the case.

He was arrested after refusing to leave the “whites only” part of the restaurant at the bus station. In an 2018 interview with The Associated Press, he described his experience.

Boynton was later convicted of the offense, but Thurgood’s lawyer, Marshall, who later became the first black supreme court judge, disputed his sentence. The appeal triggered the judgment of the U.S. Supreme Court in Boynton v. Virginia. In 1960, in its decision 7-2, the Court banned the racial segregation of bus stations.

The incident ignited the Freedom Rides movement in 1961, when black-and-white civil rights activists boarded buses in deep southern cities to protest the segregated buses and stations.

Boynton was born and raised in Selma and came from an activist family. Her parents are known as Mr. and Mrs. Civil Rights. Her mother, Amelia Boynton Robinson, was badly beaten in 1965 when a group of protesters faced violence as they tried to march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to demand the right to vote for black people. Robinson and others were honored by President Barack Obama in 2015, 50 years after “Bloody Sunday.”

Boynton’s death occurred less than two weeks before the Supreme Court’s 60th anniversary, which changed his and many others ’lives.