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From Interracial Sit-Ins to Interreligious Solidarity: 1962

Grades 6-12

1962

An article in the Pittsburgh Catholic (October 1962) entitled “Civil Rights Front: --Report from ALBANY (Ga.)” describes how religious leaders from Northern cities, who went to Georgia after being invited by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr to protest nonviolently alongside members of the Albany Movement, were arrested by the local police.

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[Southerners or Northerners] were arrested as they prayed in front of the [hospital or city hall] in Albany, Ga. The demonstrators were mostly [businessmen or clergymen] from the New York and Chicago areas, but there were laymen, also, including nearly a dozen [Catholics or Quakers]. The action of these clergymen, the largest group of clergy to be [welcomed or arrested] in Southern demonstrations, is a sign of the growing involvement of the traditional churches with the [violent or nonviolent] movement.

The Albany Movement has conducted a [voter or swimmer] registration campaign, an economic boycott of downtown merchants and the [public library or municipal bus] systems (which had ceased operations). Albany’s bus and train stations and its [public parks or voting booths] have been desegregated, but these are small successes, aided by [federal or local] court orders, in comparison to the massive effort the Albany Movement has made. In response, the city officials have closed the public parks, swimming pool and library rather than [segregate or desegregate] them.

IN JULY, after months of [fruitless or successful] attempts to discuss the issues with the [state legislature or city commissioners], the Albany Movement resumed demonstrations. Again, the police [arrested or freed] all demonstrators, including Martin Luther King for the second time. The renewed struggle has generated great [harmony or tension]. 

It was bolstering the [money or morale] of the people of the Albany Movement that King sent the following telegram to New York and Chicago [civic or religious] organizations: "The [Albany or Alabama] Movement is in its second month of struggle to bring about just reconciliation of the community's [racial or religious] groups. Albany is not a local situation but is a [crisis or celebration] in the national life of this democracy. When [citizens or blacks] are denied the right to pray and picket in public, when churches are burned for their use as voter registration centers, our nation suffers greatly.”