Alabama Adds Bronze Busts of Two Female Voting Rights Pioneers to State Archives

Two voting rights pioneers are being at the Alabama Department of Archives and History, the Associated Press reported.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey revealed the bronze busts of two influential women who fought for equality and voting rights. Civil rights leader Amelia Boynton Robinson and suffragist Pattie Ruffner Jacobs will be the first women represented in the Statuary Hall of Notable Alabamians.

"The first two women added to the Statuary Hall are both known for lifelong efforts to extend the right to vote to all Alabamians," Ivey said at Monday's unveiling ceremony, adding that the women brought "real and lasting change" to both their state and their country.

The statues will be located at one of the state archive entrances. Hundreds of visitors, researchers and students visit the archives each year.

Boynton Robinson was a notable figure in the Selma civil rights movement, perhaps most known for walking on the Edmund Pettus Bridge during a march before state troopers began brutalizing the crowd. The 1965 incident became known as Bloody Sunday, and a photograph of an unconscious Boynton Robinson became a defining photo of the movement.

Ruffner Jacobs was the founder of the Alabama Equal Suffrage Association, an organization that campaigned for women to vote. She also worked closely with Susan B. Anthony as a board member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. She was the first woman from Alabama to sit on the National Democratic Committee.

While the busts were welcomed, Boynton Robinson's granddaughter hopes that those inspired by her grandmother "get off [her] shoulders" and make changes of their own.

"What she means by that is she wants us all to move forward in our own activism," Carver Boyington said.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Amelia Boynton
Civil rights leader Amelia Boynton Robinson and suffragist Pattie Ruffner Jacobs will be the first women represented in the Statuary Hall of Notable Alabamians. Above, Boynton Robinson attends the 2011 Trustees Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement dinner and presentation on February 25, 2011, in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

When the Voting Rights Act was signed into law on August 6, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson invited Robinson to attend the signing as a guest of honor.

"These additions to our statuary collection represent a step forward in the Archives' commitment to deliver an inclusive presentation of Alabama's history," Department of Archives and History Director Steve Murray said in a press release.

"Moreover, the women they honor serve as wonderful models of traits we hope to see embodied by our young people—persistence, courage, and a commitment to justice under the law."

The new works of art were sculpted by Alabama artist Clydetta Fulmer and cast at the Fairhope Foundry.

Amelia
Civil rights leader Amelia Boynton Robinson and suffragist Pattie Ruffner Jacobs will be the first women represented in the Statuary Hall of Notable Alabamians. Above, a civil rights marcher suffering from exposure to tear gas holds an unconscious Boynton Robinson after mounted police officers attacked marchers in Selma, Alabama, as they were beginning a 50-mile march to Montgomery in 1965 to protest racial discrimination in voter registration.