Ralph Mark Gilbert
Reverend Dr. Ralph Mark Gilbert the “father” of the modern day civil rights movement in Savannah. Gilbert died in 1956 and his successor as president of the NAACP and this Museum’s founder Westley Wallace Law said “honoring this great man is long overdue.”
He came to Savannah to pastor the historic First African Baptist Church on Franklin Square in the 1940s. He reorganized the Savannah NAACP and served as president from 1942 to 1950, leading the fight to end the white only Democratic primary. His leadership among other things gave Savannah the first black policemen in the deep South. In Savannah, Gilbert organized the largest NAACP youth council in the nation, in 1942. He formed and was the first president (1942-1948) of the Georgia State Conference NAACP Branches.