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Bruce Boynton, the man who inspired the Freedom Rides, dies at 83

November 27, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

In this Thursday, May 3, 2018 photo, Bruce Carver Boynton speaks at his home in Selma, Ala. Boynton, a civil rights pioneer from Alabama who inspired the landmark ???Freedom Rides" of 1961, has died. He was 83. Former Alabama state Sen. Hank Sanders, a friend of Boynton???s, confirmed his passing Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves, file)

Alabama civil rights icon Bruce Boynton, who helped inspire the historic 1960s Freedom Rides has died at 83.

(CNN)Bruce Boynton, a civil rights icon who helped inspire the historic Freedom Rides of 1961, has died at 83.

The civil rights attorney and Alabama's first Black special prosecutor passed away earlier this week in Selma from cancer, according to former Alabama state Sen. Hank Sanders, a friend of Boynton's.

Boynton's place in the Freedom Rides movement began in 1958 while a student at Howard University Law School in Washington, DC.

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

Boynton was later convicted of trespassing but went on to challenge his sentence with his attorney Thurgood Marshall, who later became the first Black Supreme Court justice.

The case ignited the Freedom Rides movement in 1961, as Black and White civil rights activists boarded buses to cities in the Deep South to protest segregated buses and stations.

Boynton was born and raised in Selma, and came from a family of activists.

His mother, Amelia Boynton Robinson, was viciously beaten in 1965 when a group of demonstrators faced violence as they attempted to march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, to demand the right to vote for Black people.

Boynton's death came less than two weeks before the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that changed his and many others lives.

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