Prathia Hall, Civil Rights Activist   Leave a comment


Rev. Dr. Prathia Hall (1940–2002) was a leader and activist in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. She did her main work while a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and was particularly active in Southwest Georgia, in the Albany Movement, and as a speaker at movement events. The daughter of a minister from Philadelphia, she was known for her oratorical power, speaking at movement meetings and preaching as well.

In 1961, while she was still a junior at Temple University, Hall was arrested in Annapolis, Maryland for participation in the anti-segregation protests on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and was in jail for two weeks. She left school in August 1962, one credit away from graduation.

In 1962, white gunmen shot Hall and fellow activists, Jack Chatfield and Christopher Allen at the house of Carolyn Daniels in Terrell County, Georgia. She was shot at by police and jailed many times in Georgia, including in the notorious Sasser jail. She preached at the Albany Movement’s first anniversary program along with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and spoke of her dream for the future at the burned down site of the Mt. Olive Baptist Church where the movement had its mass meetings in Terrell County, repeating “I have a dream”; the inspiration to King for his famous speech.

Judy Richardson wrote of Hall’s oratory,

“I remember sitting one day in the little area outside Forman’s office, transcribing a mass meeting speech given by Prathia Hall, a SNCC field secretary then posted to Selma, Alabama. As she described the violence in Selma, the awful beauty of her words — and the intensity of her moral outrage — took me by such force that I remember typing on to that long, green mimeo stencil with tears just streaming down my face. It was as if some force of nature had swept me away to another place.” [1]

Prathia Hall worked for SNCC until 1966, in Georgia and in Selma, Alabama. She held a Master of Divinity, Master of Theology, and Ph.D. from Princeton. She worked as a pastor at the Mt. Sharon Baptist Church in Philadelphia and then later was an academic, professor and dean at United Theological Seminary, and the Martin Luther King Chair in Social Ethics at Boston University.

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Posted February 28, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Civil Rights

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