Albany Civil Rights Institute

As many of you know, I used to teach American History when I lived in Pennsylvania, so one of the draws for me in moving to Georgia was the opportunity to explore history and see where “it” happened. One of my, ummmm, I don’t want to call it “favorite” but one of the periods that I most enjoyed exploring with my students was the Civil Rights Movement.

So many of my students believed the Civil Rights Movement began and ended with Martin Luther King, Jr. Some knew about Rosa Parks and a few had heard of Malcolm X {but only in the most negative terms}. To say this broke my heart would be an understatement. They didn’t understand the legacy of the beautiful spirituals that the old church mothers used to hum from the front pew of the church. Many had never heard the story of Emmett Till and how his mother forced the world to see the brutality of institutionalized racism. They didn’t know that it was his death that gave birth to the modern Civil Rights Movement.

Albany Civil Rights Institute {Living Outside the Stacks} #VisitAlbany

On Saturday morning, The Hubs and I went to the Albany Civil Rights Institute in Albany, Georgia. The experience was overwhelming to say the least. First we watched a video that gave an overview of the Albany Movement, the name of the Civil Rights Movement in Albany. The Albany Movement began in the fall of 1961 and ended in the summer of 1962. The goal of the Albany Movement was the desegregation of the an entire community. From the beginning of the movement through the end, over 1000 African Americans were arrested. Can you imagine? For more information, click here.

Albany Civil Rights Museum {Living Outside the Stacks} #VisitAlbany

Albany Civil Rights Museum {Living Outside the Stacks} #VisitAlbany

Albany Civil Rights Museum {Living Outside the Stacks} #VisitAlbany

This is Old Mount Zion Baptist Church, if the name sounds familiar, it’s because this is where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and four major Civil Rights Organizations – Southern Christian Leadership Council {SCLC}, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) –  met to organize. You can read more about Old Mount Zion here.

Albany Civil Rights Museum {Living Outside the Stacks} #VisitAlbany

One of the original stained windows on the church

Albany Civil Rights Museum {Living Outside the Stacks} #VisitAlbany
Albany Civil Rights Museum {Living Outside the Stacks} #VisitAlbany

Albany Civil Rights Museum {Living Outside the Stacks} #VisitAlbany
Markers telling the story of the Albany Movement, placed in the sidewalk in front of Old Mount Zion.

I wonder how many people have taken the time to stop and read these markers?

Albany Civil Rights Museum {Living Outside the Stacks} #VisitAlbany

Cornerstone on the side of the church.

As we toured the museum and then walked through Old Mount Zion, I couldn’t help but to think of the sacrifices of those who came before me. I thought about the tears they shed, the frustration they felt, they fear that must’ve been a part of their day-to-day lives… As I placed my hand on the pews where they sat and stared at the stage where they stood, all I could do was whisper “Thank you”.

Forever Grateful,

Daenel T {Living Outside the Stacks}

 

 

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Note: to protect the intellectual property of the Institute, photography of any sort is not allowed.

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