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Mighty Like a RiverThe Black Church and Social Reform$
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Andrew Billingsley

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195161793

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195161793.001.0001

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Rev. Ralph Mark Gilbert and the Civil Rights Movement in Savannah

Rev. Ralph Mark Gilbert and the Civil Rights Movement in Savannah

Chapter:
(p.53) 5 Rev. Ralph Mark Gilbert and the Civil Rights Movement in Savannah
Source:
Mighty Like a River
Author(s):

Andrew Billingsley

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195161793.003.0006

The evolution of the black church in Savannah as agent of social reform reached its zenith during the civil rights era. Rev. Ralph Mark Gilbert, pastor of the First African Baptist Church from 1939–1956, is generally considered the father of the civil rights movement in Savannah. Gilbert inherited a mantle of activist leadership. He was a leader in the political life of blacks in Georgia. He was also a great builder of the church as a community institution. Building on the groundwork laid under the leadership of the Rev. Gilbert, W. W. Law, the NAACP, and the churches, Savannah blacks were ready for action in 1960 when the student sit-in movement was launched by four black students in North Carolina who sat down at a Greensboro lunch counter. In addition, the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum is described.

Keywords:   Rev. Ralph Mark Gilbert, black church, Savannah, social reform, civil rights

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