The Charles Sherrod Civil Rights Park
The Charles Sherrod Civil Rights Park, located in Albany, Ga, was created by the city to honor his organizing work in the Albany Movement from 1961-1963 (where more than 2,000 people went to jail) and in the dangerous rural counties from 1963. The man who saw it through until the end was John Lewis. While Lewis, a democrat from Atlanta, Georgia, pursued this task with hard work and dedication. Sherrod is often not credited for his efforts, and has become known as the Unsung Hero of Albany Georgia.
Backstory and Context
The Albany Movement was a desegregation and voting rights coalition formed in Albany Georgia, in November of 1961, by local black leaders and ministers such as Rev Charles Sherrod. Sherrod was a member and organizer of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. He became the first SNCC field secretary, and served as the SNCC director of southwest Georgia. His leadership there led to the Albany Movement. He also participated in the Selma Voting Rights Movement and in many other parts of the 1960s Civil Rights movement. Sherrod worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., participating in the organization's first demonstrations and voter registration drives.
On November 22, 1961, the Trailways terminal was once again tested for compliance, this time by a group of youth activists from both the NAACP and SNCC. In an attempt to bring more attention to their pursuit of desegregation of public spaces and "demand[s] for justice," the students were arrested. In protest, over 100 students from Albany State College marched from their campus to the courthouse. One of the first Albany Movement meetings took place at Mt. Zion Baptist Church.
Charles Sherrod and his wife Shirley were presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama at the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Southwest Georgia Project in Albany on June 4, 2011, for all their accomplishments and hard work during the Civil Rights era.
Sherrod's wife, Shirley Sherrod, mentioned that she and her husband had been among the dignitaries on hand for the recent opening of the African-American History Museum in Washington, but their experience was marred by an inaccuracy in the exhibit space dedicated to the Albany Movement. They did not get a chance to see the Albany Movement in the museum, but a student who wrote about Charles' effort had informed them that they proclaimed the Albany Movement to be a failure. Shirley, who was in shock, stated that "What some historians don’t understand is that the Albany Movement started before Dr. (Martin Luther) King came here, and it continued after he left. You can’t look at the changes in Albany that have continued up to 2016 and say the movement here was a failure.” To the community of Albany, the Albany Movement was a success and that's why we give Charles Sherrod the title of "unsung hero of Albany."
. . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albany_Movement.