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Alabama - Selma: Bruce Boynton Interviewee [Part 1]
Dent, Thomas C.
Tom Dent interviews Bruce Boynton in Selma, Alabama. Boynton opens the tape by saying he is an attorney. Boynton moved back to Selma in 1971. It was supposed to be only a visit. He talks about a low income housing initiative he was working on that produced attractive houses. They were caught in Nixon's housing freeze and the project fell through. They talk about his position as County Attorney, which is an appointed position he began in 1988. He was the first Black to hold the positon and it followed a suite on unequal representation. He still maintains a private practice. Boynton talks about his relationship with J.L. Chestnut. They graduated law school within a year of each other and were good friends. Boynton says he went to Fisk High School and graduated early at the age of fourteen in 1956. He went to Howard Law School from 1956 to 1959. Boynton says his experience growing up in Selma was a very different experience then that of the average Black boy at the time. His parents were active and intelligent; he says he was always aware of the movement and what was happening from a young age. He said his house was always full of intelligent non-White foreigners connected to his father's job. It was an "international house." They came to observe farming and agricultural methods used in the south. He says his parents made efforts to avoid segregated situations as much as possible. For example, they avoided movie theaters. In segregated doctors' offices, his mother, who had medium light skin, would occasionally pass. He talks about his grandmother, who was independently wealthy and very independent. She bought a lot of real estate in Philadelphia. She also, "did not tolerate" segregation. He says she had a lot of Cherokee Indian in her. They talk about the book Boynton's mother wrote and the history of his family. Boynton says he avoided White people up until he opened his own practice because he did not like to be made to feel "less than." He says his family instilled him a strong sense of pride and superiority. They talk about the responsibilities of the Probate Judge and his role in re-districting school zones. Boynton talks about practicing law in Selma between 1956 and 1958. He says he largely represented the young people of SNICC during that time. They talk about mutual acquaintances. He talks about a time he was beat in Wilcox County.
Civil rights leaders
Law & legal affairs
Dent, Thomas C.
King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968
Wilcox County (Ga.)
Tulane University Digital Library
Box 151, Item 2, Side 1, Tom Dent collection, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
Physical rights are retained by the Amistad Research Center. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.