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Ava DuVernay pays tribute to Selma activist Amelia Boynton Robinson

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Selma director Ava DuVernay honored late civil rights activist Amelia Boynton Robinson, who died Wednesday at the age of 104, with a series of tweets about the “Bloody Sunday” survivor.

DuVernay called Boynton Robinson “a freedom fighter every American should know, respect, recognize,” and wrote that she was “the first character I added to my rewrite of SELMA. … You couldn’t tell the story without her. She started the story.”

Boynton Robinson was portrayed by Lorraine Toussaint in Selma, DuVernay’s historical drama about Martin Luther King Jr. and his crusade for civil rights in 1965. The film includes key scene in which Boynton Robinson (then Amelia Boynton) is brutally beaten while helping lead a march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, an incident that helped draw national attention to the movement.

As DuVernay noted, it was Boynton Robinson who personally invited King to come to Selma and help mobilize the local community.

The filmmaker also posted a photo of herself with Boynton Robinson, taken at the latter’s home in 2013. DuVernay added, “To those asking, yes, we showed SELMA to Amelia Boynton in her home before its release. She clapped + praised her portrayal by @LPToussaint.”

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