ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Rutha Harris visited Albany State Thursday afternoon to discuss the meaning of freedom songs and the impact they had in her fight for equality.
"Music played a very vital role in the Civil Rights movement," said Harris. "Any movement must have music."
The Albany native has marched on Washington, sang in front of leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and was jailed three times.
She said music and prayer kept her and her peers through the tough times.
"You know that you might get hit, but you're singing a song 'walk with me Lord, I ain't gone let nobody turn me around.'"
The program was put on by ASUs Center of Excellence for Community Engagement, and the organizer said she can see its impact working.
"They're going to go places, and they're going to find out more about her," said event organizer Dr. Nancy Dawson. "It's a shame most of them going to school here didn't know who this legendary civil rights leader was."
Students became more and more engaged as the program went on. Harris taught them spirituals and walked them through her struggles for freedom.
She said she's not a talker, and expressed much of her message through song.
After learning her story, students in attendance asked how the Black Lives Matters movement could benefit from it.
Harris wanted students to remember two key points.
"Freedom ain't free. And songs of the movement are still important today."