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Legacy of The Freedom Singers cemented as part of civil rights movement

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Posted at 11:24 AM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 13:24:49-05

During the civil rights movement of the early 1960s, The Freedom Singers traveled across the country to raise funds for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. Their songs spread a message of determination and hope.

"The Freedom Singers were organized here in Albany, Georgia during the civil rights movement," said Rutha Mae Harris, one of the original Freedom Singers. "We traveled 50,000-plus miles in nine months, covering 46 states. And while we were traveling through Alabama, we were shot at. You should have heard us singing and praying. But we got through that."

At the historic March on Washington in 1963, The Freedom Singers led the crowd in song, invited to perform by the iconic singer and activist Harry Belafonte.

"Harry Belafonte had chartered a plane," Harris said. "And we got to be on the plane with the celebrities, so we thought we were in hog heaven. The song I led was ‘We Shall Not Be Moved.’"

The group's nationwide travel and performance at the March on Washington cemented The Freedom Singers' legacy as part of American civil rights history.