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Grant number like: AB-50103-12

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Albany State University (Albany, GA 31705-2796)
Marva O. Banks (Project Director: July 2011 to February 2013)
Kimberly Harper (Project Director: February 2013 to September 2014)
Kimberly Harper (Co Project Director: December 2011 to September 2014)

Humanities Initiatives at Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Education Programs

$100,458 (approved)
$96,297 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2012 – 12/31/2013

Albany, Georgia: Gateway to the National Civil Rights Struggle

A humanities bridge program over two summers for selected high school students on the history, literature, art, and music of the Civil Rights Movement.

"Albany, Georgia: Gateway to the National Civil Rights Struggle" is a two-year project at Albany State University (ASU) supporting a humanities summer bridge program for students from Dougherty and nearby counties in Southwest Georgia. The project allows under-achieving students to learn about the history, literature, art, and music of the Civil Rights Movement. Under the leadership of project director Marva Banks (African-American, African, and Caribbean literature), the program engages tenth and eleventh graders in the study of the Civil Rights Movement, focusing on the catalytic Albany Movement (1961-1963), a collective protest against Jim Crow laws that laid the foundation for subsequent demonstrations in the South and throughout the nation. The project's goals are to improve the participants' critical reading, writing, and communications skills; to lead students in an examination of the history, art, and music of the era; and to involve them in collecting oral histories of surviving participants in the Albany Movement. "ASU alumni helped launch the Albany Movement," notes the project director, "while other activists joined students at Albany State . . . to advance the cause of Civil Rights." During each of two summers, twenty-five students spend six weeks learning about this important history. They study, for example, the role of Charles M. Sherrod, now on the history faculty at ASU and available for interview, as a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) who "helped lead the charge against segregation laws and policies in the city"; and that of former ASU student Bernice Johnson Reagon (Sweet Honey in the Rock) as one of the original Albany "Freedom Singers." They read works by Frederick Douglass, James Weldon Johnson, Rudolph Fisher, Ernest J. Gaines, Maya Angelou, Robert Frost, and Amy Tan, as well as study Billie Holiday's rendition of "Strange Fruit," an anti-lynching piece. They also travel to Montgomery and Selma, Alabama, and Atlanta, Georgia, to visit other sites related to the Civil Rights Movement in addition to those visited in Albany.