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Georgia - Albany: Charles M. Sherrod Interviewee [Part 1]
Dent, Thomas C.
Tom Dent interviews Charles M. Sherrod in Albany, Georgia. He lists his nicknames for the counties of Georgia. Dent asks Sherrod why he remained in Georgia after coming down to do work with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee [SNCC] in 1961. He is a native of Virginia. He cites the beautiful country and people, and says racism is everywhere in the country. His wife is from Baker County, and he felt the area was progressing. The churches in the area remind him of Virginia, but also have music he had never heard before. He grew up Baptist, but is now Presbyterian; he joined when he was asked to preach at their church, which he did for two years. He has been critical of the church in the past, but has always counted on church people. He has decided to join a church, but has yet to do so. Sherrod considers Albany to be just as racist as it ever has been, but racists are more conscious of how they are perceived. It is still very segregated. They discuss the development to the area. Sherrod says there is fear there, and that people are fighting back against people selling drugs in the community. The media in Albany is still biased and is still run by James Gray's descendants. There is a Black-run weekly paper called The Albany Southwest Georgian published by A.C. Searles, with whom Sherrod suggests Dent speak. Dent runs through a list of names of people he is considering interviewing, and Sherrod suggests a few more. Dent asks how Sherrod measures progress from the Black community since the 1960s. He talks about material items, home ownership, better salaries, and Black heads of departments in Albany. "Nothing has been accomplished in Albany without a considerable effort toward change on the part of the poor and the powerless. No change has taken place on the basis of good will from people who hold the power." Sherrod also measures change through use their power through voting and spending. He talks about the growth of Black businesses in Albany in recent years. They discuss a hearing that Dent observed today, comparing it to scenes from the 1960s. Dent comments that the problem could have been worked out before the meeting, but it was not. National and international businesses based in Albany have raised wages in the area and contributed to high retail sales. Despite the progress, Sherrod still considers Albany the most racist city in the southwest. The Black vote still has strength. He says old money controls Albany. He discusses the power structure, and the prospect for jobs in the area.
Civil rights demonstration
Tulane University Digital Library
Box 150, Item 12, Side 1, Tom Dent collection, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
Physical rights are retained by the Amistad Research Center. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.