Freedom road

One of the good things about writing a book like "The Class of '65" is that you get invited to speak at places like the Albany Civil Rights Institute. That's me with Frank Wilson, the executive director, in front of a Trailways bus display at the museum. The civil rights movement in southwest Georgia began at a bus station in Albany and spread to surrounding towns like Americus, the setting of my story. It was an honor to speak at a place that documents the Albany Movement, which was known for impassioned oratory and emotional singing at its many church mass meetings. I read from a journal kept by Lora Browne, one of the young people from Koinonia who attended some of those meetings in 1962 and who had never witnessed such scenes. "I was astonished!" she wrote. "I had never been to a service before in which the congregation responded to the minister as he talked!" Of course, the minister she was talking about was known to get a few "amens" and "tell it to them, bothers!" -- it was Martin Luther King Jr.