Magazine article Humanities

Georgia Church Becomes Museum

Magazine article Humanities

Georgia Church Becomes Museum

Article excerpt

The windows of the Old Mount Zion Church have been boarded up for more than twenty years. The congregation has moved, and the church has stood as an empty memorial to the Civil Rights Movement that had its early beginnings in Albany, Georgia.

Within the walls of the church are nearly a century of memories. At one time the voices of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the freedom singers rang through the stained glass windows.

Now, after months of renovation, the church will reopen as The Mount Zion Albany Civil Rights Movement Museum. Photographer Danny Lyon has donated thirty pictures he took of the Civil Rights Movement in Albany. The exhibition will contain artifacts from those days, including the signs designating segregated drinking fountains "colored" and "white" and letters written from jail.

These relics portray the struggles of those "who were willing to go against the standard of the day, who stepped forward and took a public stand," says Lee Formwalt, interim dean of the graduate school at Albany State University, an historically black university. The museum will be under the auspices of Formwalt and other community members and former civil rights activists. Formwalt participated last year in an NEHfunded seminar at Harvard on "Teaching the History of the Southern Civil Rights Movement, 1865-1965. …

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