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Episode 9: 1961/1962 Albany Movement: Failure or Success?

Jul 13 2020

This episode focuses on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s involvement in the 1961/1962 Albany Movement, in Albany GA.

Grown from local grassroots activism and initiated by SNCC members Charles Sherrod and Cordell Reagon, the Albany Movement challenged institutionalized segregation and discrimination in the city. While the movement was in full swing, William G. Anderson, a local doctor and the president of the Albany Movement, invited Martin Luther King, Jr., to speak at one of the meetings. After King delivered his speech at the mass meeting at Shiloh Baptist Church, on December 15, 1961, he decided to participate in a march.  The march led to his arrest, jail sentence, and many months of direct involvement. Albany’s police chief Laurie Pritchett responded to the demonstrations with mass arrests. However, he refrained from public brutality and arranged King’s release from jail in order to avoid federal interventions and minimize negative publicity.

By the end of 1962, despite countless protests and hundreds of arrests, the Albany Movement did not achieve any tangible gains, as Albany's public facilities remained segregated. For the activists and SNCC members, however, the campaign was a success.  It was a powerful lesson in organizing and mobilizing local citizens to register to vote and stand up to segregation and injustice.


Posted in: 
Clayborne Carson, Liberation Curriculum