featured WSB clip shows several participants of the Albany
Movement being taken to the Albany jail
on stretchers after protesting in front of City Hall on Friday,
July 27, 1962. On that day, a group of ten black demonstrators,
led by the
Reverend Dr. King, arrived at Albany's City Hall and lined
up in front of police headquarters. Also leading the group were Dr.
William G. Anderson and Slater
King, president and vice-president of the Albany Movement.
The group told Police
Chief Laurie Pritchett that their purpose was to go before
the City Commission and discuss integration demands. Chief Pritchett
told them that they could go before the City Commission during
a regular session and that a sidewalk was no place to discuss
such demands. Dr. King then asked Ralph
Abernathy to lead the group in a prayer. After Abernathy was
finished, Pritchett informed the group that if they did not leave,
they would be arrested. The group refused to move, even after
Pritchett repeated his warning for a second time. After a few
more warnings, the chief finally had the demonstrators marched
into the jail.
Several hours after Dr. King and the other protestors
in his group were arrested, a group of seventeen more demonstrators
arrived in front of City Hall. This second group, led by Charlie
Jones of Charlotte,
North Carolina, consisted of sixteen blacks, including Rutha
Harris of the Freedom
Singers and the only white student, Bill Hansen, who was a field
secretary of SNCC.
Here, the group of demonstrators, composed of college
and high-school students, is kneeling in front of City Hall while
Jones reads aloud a typewritten prayer. During the prayer, Pritchett
impatiently paces through the demonstrators. After finishing, Jones
tells the other members of his group to remain kneeling in “peaceful
Pritchett orders Jones and his group to move three
times. After they refuse, he arrests them. He tells the demonstrators
that they can either walk into the jail by themselves or have “a
free ride.” Ten of the demonstrators stand up and walk into the
jail. The seven who remain kneeling are carried out on stretchers
by Pritchett’s officers.
The demonstrators are acting out the key civil rights
principle of nonviolent
direct social action, which is also rooted in faith. King and
other leaders of the Civil
Rights Movement were inspired to use passive resistance by the
work of Mohandas
Karamchand Gandhi, who led India during the 1920s, 1930s, and
1940s in its fight for independence from British colonial rule.
In addition to its international roots, the Movement derived power
and moral authority from cross-racial coalitions of activists. The
activists who united across race and class modeled the "beloved
community" that they were demanding of their fellow citizens.
Resources (click here)
Printable Version (click here)
1. What was Dr. King's vision of the "beloved
2. View the photographs from 1960 of SNCC members
University training for passive resistance, in the Duke
University Libraries online exhibit entitled James
Karales: Photographs 1956-69. You can click on each image
to enlarge them. What was powerful and effective for the civil
rights activists about passive and nonviolent resistance? What were
3. Read pages three and four of an oral
history interview of Police Chief Laurie Pritchett's comments
about Gandhi's nonviolent philosophy from the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University
Library web site, Documenting
the American South. How did the Albany police force benefit
from responding nonviolently to the activists? What were their
Take it to
Research the American peace movements of the 1960s. Compare them
to the global peace movements that have emerged in the 21st century.
Select one issue that both movements have in common and design a
collage or poster that illustrates this issue.
Writer: Courtney Thomas
Editors: Christina L. Davis, Deborah Stanley and Diane Trap
Researchers: Lauren Chambers, Aggie Ebrahimi, Courtney Thomas, and
Professor Barbara McCaskill
Web Site Designer: William Weems
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