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

Andrew Billingsley

in Mighty Like a River

Published in print March 2003 | ISBN: 9780195161793
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849512 | DOI:
Rev. Ralph Mark Gilbert and the Civil Rights Movement in Savannah

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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

Chapter.  3578 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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