ALBANY, GA - In January, the Albany Civil Rights Institute set a new record for the number of people visiting the local civil rights museum. Nine hundred and seventeen people passed through ACRI doors between January 4 and 31.
According to ACRI executive director Lee W. Formwalt, there are several factors accounting for the record numbers. First, an increasing number of visitors came to the facility in 2010. In fact, more than 5,000 visitors came last year, twice the number who came in 2009. Second, for the first time ACRI, which is closed on Mondays, opened for Martin Luther King Day last month. One hundred forty-three people visited the institute to attend a local NAACP program honoring Dr. King and to tour the ACRI permanent exhibition. Finally, the ACRI Monthly Community Night on January 27 on the experiences of four African American students in the Class of 1967 in desegregating Albany High School was the most successful ACRI program yet with 201 people attending.
"We're off to a good start this year," said Formwalt, "and we have more exciting programming in store for our visitors." Upcoming programs include Peggy King Jorde on what it took to preserve the African Burial Ground in New York City (February 24) and Charles and Shirley Sherrod on the Civil Rights Movement in Southwest Georgia (March 25). The Sherrods' presentation will be moderated by TV1's April Ryan and will be broadcast on TV1 which is carried locally on Mediacom. This presentation is an ACRI fundraiser and tickets ($25) will be available ahead of time at both ACRI and the Albany Welcome Center.
This is an exciting anniversary year for ACRI. Fifty years ago, the Albany Movement organization was established and ACRI will host a weeklong series of events in mid November. In the meantime, 50th anniversary celebrations are being held throughout the year at Albany State University to honor the courageous Albany State College students who participated in the Albany Movement and were expelled for their activities. Finally, the Southwest Georgia Project will be holding a 50th anniversary Albany Movement Reunion on June 2-4, 2011.