Letter from Amelia P. Boynton to the SCLC

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Abstract

Amelia Boynton writes the members of the SCLC seeking financial assistance to help purchase a particular piece of land to help start a new sewing machine factory and other projects in Selma, Alabama. Boynton provides details of the history of the struggle of people of color in Selma, and stresses that the land would be used to help teach the underprivileged in the area to help themselves.

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Letter from Amelia P. Boynton to the SCLC
Wednesday, June 2, 1965
Transcripts & Translations
English

Transcript

1325 Lapsley Street Selma, Alabama June 2, 1965 Southern Christian Leadership Conference 334 Auburn Avenue NW Atlanta, Georgia Dear Sirs, Selma, Alabama has been in the forefront in the eyes of the public for at least three years. Her people of color have struggled against the odds, been beaten, thrown in jail, mistreated, and disrespected. In spite of these un-American activities the Negro is still willing to improve Selma and her condition. I would like to give you a brief history of our struggle in capsule form. On October 7, 1963 more than four hundred Negroes stood in line in the scorching sun waiting to get into the Dallas county courthouse to register. They were forbidden to get out of line to get water, to go to the restroom or even to accept a drink or a sandwich from a passerby. Two Negro women were fired from Dunn?s Rest Home for trying to register. Because of the continuous mistreatment of the many Negro employees in this institution and the brutal beating of one of their leaders, forty of them, which was the entire Negro staff, walked off the job. In the meantime many others were fired individually. Mrs. Marie Foster and I saw much food and clothing come down to relive immediate suffering of the fired people but this did not satisfy our desire to see them carry on in a normal way. They were given food but after a few days they were as hungry as they were before receiving the It was during this period that the idea was born to give these women something to do. We called them together and asked if they were willing to work if we could establish a small selling factory. The response was more than gratitude. We asked several people to give us money for at least ten high-powered machines or a machine. We received four regular sewing machines and approximately $400.00 twice per week the unemployed came to First Baptist Church to learn how to sew straight seams, how to care for the machines and how to generally operate the machine. In the spring of 1964, under the organization the Church of the Brethren, through Rev. Ralph Smiltzer, two of our ladies went to Maryland to be taught how to use electric scissors or cutter and to learn the general details of their factory. We were sent a bale of material and an electric cutter. At the height of our instruction July 1964, Sheriff Clark of Dallas County issued an injunction against all gatherings thus causing all activities to cease. In 1965, when the injunction was broken by our Dr. MLK, his staff, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Selma again was in the limelight, this time more forceful than ever. Vans upon vans for food and clothing were sent down and many people came with boxes and baskets with their bare feet and half clad children
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