Freedom Songs with Rutha and Emory Harris
In the early 1960s, the congregational hymn singing traditions of southwest Georgia's African American communities became the heart and soul of a movement that changed the nation. Some of Georgia's earliest civil rights organzing took place in Albany, where freedom songs inspired ordinary people to risk their lives for the cause. This program tells the story of one Albany family that produced two remarkable Freedom Singers.
Special thanks to Emory and Rutha harris and the Albany Civil Rights Movement museum. Period recordings from the 1960s come from the Smithsonian Institution recording "Voices of the Civil Rights Movement," compiled by original Freedom Singer and Albany native, Bernice Johnson Reagon. The Sounds of South Georgia is made possible with support from Valdosta State University, and from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.
Siblings Rutha Harris, far right, and Emory Harris, far left, with the Freedom Singers in performance at Georgia Southwestern University, Americus, 2003.
Photo by Laurie Kay Sommers.