Albany Civil Right Movement comes alive - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany Civil Right Movement comes alive

January 20, 2003

Albany -- "Freedom!"A new generation of Freedom singers sang at Albany's Civil Rights Museum to honor Martin Luther King. He was jailed here 40 years ago as was Rutha Harris. 

"I was trying to be free, things that should've been mine," Harris said. 

Harris was an original member of the Student Non-Violence Coordinating Committee who traveled around the country telling of their struggles.

"We took a trip on a greyhound bus," they sang.

Harris reorganized the group five years ago, to teach young people about Albany's history and their songs against Police Chief Pritchett.

"Music played a big part in the Civil Rights Movement, without it there wouldn't have been a movement," Harris said. 

Erma Wilburn sung the songs too. She was too young to join the group then, but not too young to be put in jail.

"All along the march, it gave us strength and courage when bricks and bottles were being thrown at you, the strength to sing," Wilburn said. 

The freedom singers closed their performance by joining in song and friendship with the audience, hand in hand, black and white. 

Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream speech" was also recited at Monday's ceremony.