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You are here News Human Rights Bruce Boynton, civil rights pioneer who inspired 1961 Freedom Rides, dies at 83

Bruce Boynton, civil rights pioneer who inspired 1961 Freedom Rides, dies at 83

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Bruce BoyntonBruce Carver Boynton, a civil rights pioneer from Alabama who inspired the landmark “Freedom Rides” of 1961, died Monday. He was 83.

Former Alabama state Sen. Hank Sanders, a friend of Boynton’s, on Tuesday confirmed his passing.

Boynton was arrested 60 years ago for entering the white part of a racially segregated bus station in Virginia and launching a chain reaction that ultimately helped to bring about the abolition of Jim Crow laws in the South. Boynton contested his conviction, and his appeal resulted in a U.S. Supreme Court decision that prohibited bus station segregation and helped inspire the “Freedom Rides.”

Despite his pivotal role, Boynton was not as well known as other civil rights figure. Yet both his mother and father were early civil rights activists. His mother, Amelia Boynton Robinson, was savagely beaten while demonstrating for voting rights in 1965 and was honored by then-President Barack Obama 50 years later.

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