Before watching this film clip, students should have some background understanding of the Albany Movement and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s role in Albany. The Albany Movement was one of the most widely followed civil rights events in Georgia and it was the first concerted mass movement effort to end segregation in an entire city. The movement began in 1961 as several black improvement organizations joined efforts and formed the Albany Movement. The protestors held mass meetings, participated in marches, and formed the famed Freedom Singers. Martin Luther King, Jr. came to Albany in December to add momentum to the movement and bring national attention. MLK, Jr. spoke at a mass meeting and participated in a march before being arrested and jailed. After this initial arrest, MLK, Jr. enlisted SCLC staff to coordinate the campaign. In the end, MLK, Jr. felt that his involvement in the Albany Movement was a failure. The Albany Movement continued after King’s departure and the movement spread to neighboring communities in Southwest Georgia.
This film clip, taken July 25, 1962, features Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, and an unidentified speaker promoting the need for nonviolence in the Albany Movement. The night before this film was taken some members of the African-American community had thrown rocks and bottles at city police officers out of anger for the arrest of protestors. This clip provides an excellent source for studying the philosophy Martin Luther King, Jr. and members of the SCLC. The clip is also an interesting glimpse into the Albany Movement just before the exit of MLK, Jr. The Civil Rights Digital Library has many more clips related to the Albany movement cataloged and available for viewing.