This episode focuses on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s involvement in the Albany Movement. It also highlights the widespread participation of local activists in the civil rights struggle.
Grown from local grassroots activism, the Albany Movement challenged racial segregation and discrimination in the city. While the movement was in full swing, local leaders invited King to speak at one of the meetings. Initially only planning to give a speech, King became further involved, eventually being arrested and taken to jail.
As a prominent public figure, King continued connecting to the movement and its activists by attending and supporting local campaigns. In December 1961, King arrived in Albany, GA, to speak to and inspire the local campaign. Formed in November 1961, the Albany Movement, initially focused on desegregation of travel facilities, soon expanding to challenge all forms of segregation and discrimination in the city. The movement was founded by a coalition of activists from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Ministerial Alliance, the Federation of Women's Clubs, and the Negro Voters League. Protestors used demonstrations, boycotts, sit-ins, mass arrests, and lawsuits. Although the first protestors were mostly students, the campaign eventually involved large numbers of black participants of various backgrounds. It is unlikely that Martin Luther King, Jr., planned to be further involved in the Albany Movement. However, after he delivered his speech at the mass meeting at Shiloh Baptist Church, he decided to participate in a march, which eventually led to his arrest, incarceration, and many months of direct involvement. By the end of 1962, despite countless protests and hundreds of arrests, the Albany Movement did not achieve any significant gains, as Albany's public facilities remained segregated.