From expulsion to praise: ASU Alum reflects on Albany Movement

From expulsion to praise: ASU Alum reflects on Albany Movement

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - It’s been close to 60 years since a large group of then Albany State College students came together to demonstrate in the civil rights movement.

They ended up in jail and were later expelled from school.

But decades later, their sacrifice was recognized thanks in part to a younger generation of students.

Lula George, 1961
Lula George, 1961 (Source: WALB)

The year was 1961, and a call for racial equality was answered by 32 young Albany State College students.

One of them was a 22 year old co-ed named Lula George.

“Once I found out what was going, on I definitely wanted to be apart of it,” said George, now a great-grandmother.

Raised in segregated South Carolina, her education was delayed because black children didn't have transportation to school. But George didn't let that stop her from pursuing higher education.

Lula George
Lula George (Source: WALB)

"I was married for two years when this came about. I got pregnant just before they were sending him to Germany," she said.

George and her classmates gathered for meeting a Mt. Zion Church followed a by a march. It was one that would land her and others in the Lee County jail.

“Praise God, I was only there for one night and a day. And my mother-in-law came and bailed as many out as she could,” she said.

But the students protest for civil rights ended in expulsion for George and 31 of her classmates.

Fifty years later, in 2011, following rallies held by ASU students, George and several others who were kicked out of school were awarded honorary degrees by Albany State.

Members receive their degrees
Members receive their degrees (Source: WALB)

Looking back now, she is proud to know her sacrifice is something her grandchildren can be proud of.

"Because they have some freedoms that we do not have, it didn't come on its own. People have died, suffered and continue to suffer for equal rights," she said.

A young woman’s courage, still being shared a half century later.

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