Albany civil rights icon Alice Green releases memoir to acclaim


An Albany civil rights icon looks back on her long life fighting for justice.

Civil rights icon Alice Green released her memoir, “We Who Believe in Freedom: Activism and the Struggle for Social Justice” at the Albany Institute of History & Art Capital Region on Wednesday.

“The whole theme is and why I picked the title is that we who are kind of involved in wrestling can’t rest, this continues,” said Green. “And that’s one way of trying to make sure that happens.”

Dr Green’s book details her long-standing advocacy work, which she says is far from over.

“We thought we had come to a point where things had improved for us, and in the area of ​​social justice,” said Green. “But there are things going on in the community now and across the country that are very scary. And I wanted to go back to what we’ve been doing for a long time, to encourage people to keep going. Because we haven’t gotten to where we want to be. We see things like voter suppression. We see things like banning books and not wanting to teach the history of social injustice. We see self defense and white supremacy coming back. So I want that. people know that we have been involved in the fight for a long time, and that we need to continue it and learn from what we have done in the past, to see if there is anything we can borrow from that, to help in the struggle that continues.

Paul Grondahl, director of the New York State Writers Institute at Albany University, wrote the preface to Green’s book. He says he has known Green for over 35 years, the first 30 or so as a reporter for The Times Union.

“She has truly been a star of the north, fighting for racial equality against systemic racism,” said Grondahl. “She’s been on the front lines, I’ve walked with her in protests, I’ve been with her in makeshift memorials to victims of gun violence. I’ve seen her over the decades, no never wavering, always fighting the good fight, often with a lot of opposition. She’s standing up, she’s not afraid and she doesn’t back down. And I think she’s on the right side of the story. She’s working out. here in Albany on these issues since the late ’60s. And she’s an incredible force for equality and justice and especially for black power and black empowerment, which is, you know, the murder of George Floyd kind of re-energized, rekindled this problem. Alice has been battling this problem for 50 years, and she’s an amazing, amazing person. I know her both personally and professionally, and we’re very lucky to have her in Albany .

Albany Institute of History & Art executive director Tammis Groft said over the years Green has kept a close eye on the cost of social justice in the region.

“And reading her book that she just published, what I really love about it are the personal stories with the anecdotes that she tells, but she really tells, as a memory, the stories as she goes. and as she participated in those stories, ”Groft said. “So as a recording of the work that she’s done, along with a lot of other people in the community, is really quite amazing.”

Much of Green’s book is devoted to the work of the Albany Center for Law and Justice, which she founded in 1985 after police officers in Albany shot dead Jessie Davis. in his apartment in Arbor Hill.

In 1998, Green ran for lieutenant governor on the New York State Green Party ticket. She ran for mayor of Albany in 2005, garnering 25% of the vote but losing to incumbent Jerry Jennings.

For many years, she ran Trinity Institution, a youth and family service center in the southern neighborhood of Albany. While there, she also did community organizing and founded the South End Scene, one of the oldest black newspapers published in Albany.

And in recent months, as an elderly stateswoman on the city’s burgeoning protest scene, she has joined activists at protests like the one outside South Station, where campers have been. evacuated by the police in April in a chaotic scene.

Green says she wrote her memoir for all ages.

” Especially the Youngs. And I’m talking about a lot of people involved in bands like Black Lives Matter. They don’t know that story, “Green said.” And we think you have to know the story where you’re from, what happened and what you can take away from these activities and actions that we have. taken in the past, so that he can help them move forward. And to be more efficient, and to make sure they’re working for the right things. And we’re talking about changing the system, OK, which is very, very important. So I want young people to know that, and it is also an intergenerational fight. They can learn from me, they can learn from other people that I have worked with, as they go through this struggle. It’s going to be hard from now on very hard because we believe there are those who don’t want us to achieve the freedom and fairness that we need to have.

His book is available online and in bookstores.


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