MLK in Albany

Submitted by ub on

History points to an unsuccessful protest in Albany, Georgia that actually helped #MLK Martin Luther King Jr. become a national leader.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a rising civil rights figure when he came to Albany, Georgia, in December 1961, keen to provide a shot in the arm to a desegregation movement that was gathering new steam.

King led sit-ins, marches, and jail hunger strikes – but seven months later, he would leave Albany frustrated and defeated, his failure to achieve immediate results considered a setback for the surging national civil rights movement.……

On June 16, 1961, more than 1,000 people packed Wilborn Temple's pews, crammed the balcony and vestibules, stood in aisles, sat on the floor in front, and waited expectantly for the speech of a rising 32-year-old African-American preacher from Atlanta. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s visit to Albany and Schenectady came before his name had become famous, but he nonetheless left an indelible impression and enraptured his audience with a passionate address on the topics of segregation and equal rights for all. "I remember it was so jampacked there was no place to put anyone else," said Solomon Dees, who became pastor of Wilborn Temple in 2007 after serving as a deacon, assistant pastor, and chairman of the board of trustees. Dees witnessed King’s speech at age 26. For more on the topic of King’s visit to the Capital Region, read the full report by Paul Grondahl:

“All we say to America is, ‘Be true to what you said on paper’ ... Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right.” —Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. #MLKDay

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

I had the pleasure of serving as a Journalism Distinguished Visiting Professor at Albany State University, an HBCU. There I met many superb students and established lifelong friendships, including a Cuban tenured professor and his brilliant wife.

This is what some of my students had to say about me. 

  • One of my favorite professors ever, and I'm not just saying that. He is so informative and easy to talk to. He understands and respects me as a person first and a student second. I am so thankful that he came to Albany state!

    One of the most sincere people I have ever met. A real individual.

  • 😎  AWESOME

Albany, Georgia is also the birthplace of Peach Syaye Ambassador Ray Charles -