MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, GA --
The sounds of the Albany Movement filled the air in the Grand Ballroom at the Town & Country Restaurant aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Feb. 7, as one of the original Freedom Singers, Rutha Mae Harris, spoke and sung about her journey.
Since 1962, Harris, a native of Albany, and other Freedom Singers, have traveled throughout the country, performing with a goal of educating communities about civil rights through song.
Harris' speech was a mix of history and songs from the civil rights era, but the retired music teacher also engaged the crowd at the end by teaching them a song from the Albany Movement.
"The songs of the (civil rights) movement kept us from being afraid. During the marches, they cut out the howling sounds and name-calling," she said.
Harris said her favorite song to sing while marching was "Walk with Me Lord" because she knew he was with her.
Col. Alphonso Trimble, commanding officer, MCLB Albany, presented Harris a Dubber's Oak plaque and reminded her that what she and the oak tree, a historical marker at the entrance of the base, have in common, is they both have stood the test of time.
"This tree has been through every major storm and is still standing and that is you ma'am," he said. You're still standing."
Editor’s Note: According to the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, the theme for this year’s event is Black Migrations, emphasizing the movement of people of African descent to new destinations and subsequently to new social realities. The observance of Black History Month was established by Public Law 99-244 and runs through the month of February each year with a different theme. Within the Marine Corps, the Montford Point Marines breached the path upon which today’s Marines treat, and the African-American Marine of today continues to broaden and deepen that path.