Ralph Mark Gilbert
Dr. Gilbert has been described as "a great gospel preacher, peerless orator, religious dramatist, and dauntless leader of all causes and forces which serve an aggrandized mankind."
Museum is named for Civil Rights Trailblazer
By Jane Fishman, Staff Writer
Savannah Morning News
The name and location were the brainchild of W.W. Law, a longtime civil rights activist in Savannah and president of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History(ASAALH) which will operate the museum. “Dr. Gilbert is the father of the present day civil rights movement in Georgia,” said Law, who plans to include Gilbert’s papers and letters in the museum. “Nothing has been named for the man, no school or anything. There’s already one generation that doesn’t know who he is and that’s one too many.
As a religious dramatist, Gilbert wrote plays that were produced at the then, Municipal Auditorium in Savannah. In the mid-‘40s, he reorganized the NAACP in Savannah, which for years was the largest branch in Georgia.
The excerpt on this page marks the decision by the Chatham County Commission to name this museum in honor of Dr. Ralph Mark Gilbert.
His life's work left a great impact on Savannah and the greater Civil Rights movement. He accomplished pioneering feats including pushing for the elimination of the white-only primary and for the hiring of some of the first Black police officers in the Deep South. His leadership helped to lay the foundation of the Savannah civil rights movement and is an inspiration to all.