Interview with Dr. William Anderson
QUESTION 37
JAMES A. DEVINNEY:

THROUGH THE JAIL. OK, AND WHAT WAS YOUR FINAL ASSESSMENT OF ALBANY? WAS IT A SUCCESS? WAS IT A FAILURE? WAS IT A QUALIFIED SUCCESS? OK, YOU'VE HEARD THE QUESTION SO WHEN HE GIVES YOU THE GO-AHEAD—

Dr. William G. Anderson:

The Albany Movement was a qualified success. Qualified in that at the time the movement came to an end, and it didn't come to an abrupt end. It was sort of phased out, the phasing out was marked by the cessation of the mass demonstration and the picketing. At that time, none of the facilities had been desegregated. The buses had become desegregated, the train station, the bus station. But these were being desegregated by federal edict. And it was not a voluntary move on the part of the people of Albany. But the lunch counters, there were no blacks employed as clerks in the stores. The parks and other public accommodations were not desegregated at the time the Albany Movement came to an end, end in the sense of no more mass demonstrations. But the Albany Movement was an overwhelming success in that first of all there was a change in the attitude of the people. The people who were involved in the movement, the people involved in the demonstrations because they had made a determination within their own minds that they would never accept that segregated society as it was, anymore. There was a change in attitude of the kids who saw their parents step into the forefront and lead the demonstrations and they were determined that they would never go through what their parents went through to get the recognition that they should have as citizens. Secondly, I think that the Albany Movement was a success in that it served as a trial or as a proving ground for subsequent civil rights movements. There would be those from all over the world that would look at Albany, they would look at the Albany Movement and how the people responded when they were led, and how they were able to identify the problems and address those problems in a very affirmative manner. So that we—we think that the Albany Movement was very meaningful in the total picture of the civil rights movement in that it gave some direction. The mistakes were not to be repeated that were made in Albany, for example, that settlement on a handshake if you would. That would never be repeated any time in the future.