NAACP Sunday Mass Meeting | Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum

NAACP Sunday Mass Meeting

NAACP Sunday Mass Meeting

Sunday Mass Meetings were weekly gatherings at churches throughout the Black community where members shared news, material goods and gospel songs. Read a newspaper article from The Herald, a local Black-owned newspaper, to learn about the important role that Sunday Mass Meetings played in the Savannah Civil Rights Movement.

"NAACP Mass Meeting at Mt. Zion" (From The Herald issue Saturday, Febrary 29, 1964)

The weekly Mass Meeting of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People will be held Sunday, March 1, 1964, at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Rev. John Q. Adams, Pastor.

Many interesting developments of the week will be discussed. Rev. L. Scott Stell, Jr., Pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church and Chairman of the Education Committee of the NAACP will report on a conference he and a committee composed of Rev. Alfred Polla, Miss Carolyn Quillion, President of the Young Adult Council of the NAACP, and Mr. W. W. Law, President of the NAACP, had with the Board of Management of the Public Library. This committee appeared before the Board to complain about the slow pace of further integration of the Library facilities, staff, and services. The group charged that the Carnegie Branch Library is still segregated from top to bottom and that the Main Library has only experienced token integration.

The committee made the following three recommendations:

  1. That the Savannah Library and the Carnegie Library System should be reorganized into one system.
  2. That the staff be completely integrated.
  3. That the Bookmobile Service be extended to include Negro children fully.

Another interesting feature of the meeting will be a report to be given by Mrs. Willie Belle Battie, Mrs. NAACP 1963-64, of a campaign which she is leading against a neighborhood bakery.

Cover photo: W. W. Law stirring up the crowd at a local church during a 196Os NAACP Mass Meeting. Seated to the left, with the fan, is NAACP “Freedom Fighter” Edna Branch Jackson who later became Savannah’s first black woman Mayor and is currently serving in the Georgia House of Representatives.

Discussion Questions

Take a trip into archives of the Museum and read a newspaper article from The Herald, a local Black-owned paper, written on February 29, 1964. The article announces the events of a Mass Meeting at Mt. Zion Baptist Church.

Mass Meetings were community events organized by the local NAACP at churches throughout the Black community. They were an important resource of news from recent developments in the Civil Rights Movement.

The warm social atmosphere of the events also helped to strengthen the resolve of community members as they continued their struggle against the segregation of Jim Crow era Savannah laws.


  1. What complaint does the NAACP committee want to make against Savannah libraries?

  2. Think of the services that libraries provide a community. Why do you think fully integrating public libraries was important to the Black community of Savannah?