Albany, Georgia (Brian Smith)

June 14th, 2018

Two days ago I was feeling lost in a whirlwind of sights and stories. My mental plate was as full as my dinner plate, and the buffet of southern food and history seemed endless.

But it is suddenly Thursday, and we have a bit of a ride this morning to Memphis. I find myself thinking back about the cities we’ve visited, and the way each city’s story has its own distinctive flavor and character.

Albany, Georgia was particularly poignant for me. I don’t know how much people know about it; if my experience is typical, most of us haven’t heard of it. Apparently, some in the movement considered the work there unsuccessful. But anyone who has heard Rutha Harris sing would agree that Albany provided the movement with one of its most powerful voices.

Our host Debra moved me with her passion, her honesty, and her commitment to telling the story of Albany (which is pronounced al-BIN-ee, by the way). As I walked in and around those two little churches, I was struck by the David-and-Goliath nature of the struggle, and by what must have seemed impossible odds. But I was more struck by the deep, inner resources of the young people of the movement, grounded in faith and voiced in irrepressible song.

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