To some, it came as no surprise that 92-year-old civil rights activist Amelia Boynton Robinson has shown her support of presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche. To others, the move made little sense.
Robinson, who spoke at the University yesterday, expressed her belief that seven-time candidate LaRouche is continuing the fight that her fellow activist, Martin Luther King Jr., began.
Robinson spoke of her fight for civil rights, including the march on Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965, on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama, where she was beaten, gassed and left to die.
“I was not afraid and I would not run. I was appalled that human beings would beat others like they weren’t people. But fear never came through my mind,” Robinson said.
Robinson has been a vocal supporter of 80-year-old LaRouche in past years, and more recently, his 2004 campaign for the presidency.
“I thought to myself, ‘This man’s program is doing what we had been trying to do for 40 years: To lift up humanity and get people to think for themselves,'” Robinson said.
LaRouche’s platform centers on global development and domestic economic recovery, according to his website. He has spoken out against the U.S. occupation in Iraq, saying the United Nations should play a greater role in the country’s reconstruction.
Though his platform has been viewed as moderate, some say LaRouche, who served time in prison on criminal conspiracy charges, is not a serious contender for the Democratic nomination.
Recently, the University’s College Democrats disassociated themselves from LaRouche by passing a resolution against the formation of a student group supporting LaRouche’s campaign.
“At the final College Democrats’ meeting (last semester), non-student people in the LaRouche movement were being extremely disruptive,” said LSA junior Ilya Rusinov. “The supporters are literally cultists.”
Despite what he calls a media smear campaign, Abdul Muhammad, a Michigan LaRouche campaign coordinator, remains steadfast in his support for the candidate.
“(Opposers) make up excuses to deny him adequate voices in debate. It’s getting to the point where they can’t slander him anymore,” said Muhammad, a member of the LaRouche Youth Movement.
Robinson, who serves as the international chairman of economic and political group Schiller Institute, founded by LaRouche, spoke highly of his accomplishments.
In her book, Bridge Across Jordan, she writes, “Aware that the miseries befalling mankind were in no way limited to just blacks in the United States … Mr. And Mrs. LaRouche built a movement, taking up where Dr. King had left off. They realized … there must be an universal image of mankind, which transcends all racial differences and barriers.”
Starting Aug. 28, Robinson traveled the United States, Asia and Europe, speaking in countries including Iran and India.
“She has such a sense of purpose, and it is very admirable,” said LSA freshman Karen Spangler, who attended the discussion.
In addition to speaking across the nation for the Schiller Institute, Robinson also wrote an autobiographical account of her life and involvement in the fight for civil rights.
After her trip to Michigan, Robinson will return to her home in Georgia before beginning another series of trips in which she will continue to speak about challenges people face to be “mentally free.”
“A voteless people is a hopeless people, whether you are one or one million,” Robinson said.
The event was sponsored by the LaRouche Youth Movement and the University’s Student Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Persons.
“We were interested in the civil rights movement, her past and her views on voting in the presidential election next year,” said Erin Johnson, president of the University’s chapter of the NAACP.