The Limits of Non-Violence Tori BoissonNeault

What Was the Albany Movement?

The Alvany Movement in Georgia included young organizers from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Commitee who had arrived in 1961 to help African American citizens fight against segregation.


This movement was happening around the time when the Cuban Missle Crisis put the United States and the Soviet on the brink of nuclear war. This explains why the president stayed distant from the movement, as he was paying more attention to foreign affairs than nonviolent protests that seemed significantly less of an issue.


  • Over 500 activists had been incarcerated by the time Martin Luther King Jr. became involved. However, when he did, that led to more conflict, as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference he was a part of fought with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Commitee over leadership issues.
  • In July 1962, a federal judge issued restraining orders against the protesters.
  • Albany remains segregated in August when King and the SCLC leave.

In Relation to the Outcomes of the Civil Rights Movement...

Although the Albany Movement was unsuccessful due to many conflicts, it was able to give activists more insight on what they could do next to try and progress the movement.

Quotes from the Press

"The latest racial incident in Albany, Georgia, is depressing, not because of violence, for there was none, but because it is but another dreary round in a fight so wasteful of human energy. The eventual outcome of the struggle is no longer in doubt. Segregation is doomed, and even the extreme segregationists know they are only engaged in a holding action..." - Another Round in a Wasteful Fight, The Louisville Courier Journal, July 16, 1962.

Analysis: When the author describes the movement and the fight for segregation as "a fight so wasteful of human energy" and "doomed," it can be concluded that he believes segregation will always live on no matter what anyone tries to do. This article is important because it shows how, after the movement in Albany, some people may have very well lost all hope and decided to give up the fight.

"Our sympathy goes out to the people of Albany, over their difficulty. The patient restraint they have exhibited, the good judgment shown by their officials and especially the manner in which Albany's chief of police has enforced the law and maintained order has won the admiration of countless thousands. There is little a community can do to defend itself before critics and detractors on the outside when it is elected as the whipping boy in a propaganda campaign such as plagues Albany. First it was Little Rock, then Montgomery, Jackson and New Orleans. For a brief time the spotlight was on Birmingham. So we can well understand what the people of Albany are going through. We hope, as we know they do, they can keep the situation in hand until the country tires of the Albany story and the pressure shifts to a new locale." - Albany Bears Up Well, The Birmingham Post-Herald, August 4, 1962

Analysis: When the author of the article describes police as having exhibited "patient restraint" and "good judgment," it can be assumed that he believes the activists were in the wrong and deserved to be sent to jail. This is important because it exemplifies the popular opinion of the time: that the police officers were just doing their job by making sure the African American people were in line and well disciplined.

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