Hosea Williams was Martin Luther King Jr.’s trusted officer of the SCLC during the Civil Rights Movement, and later led Georgia’s biggest civil rights march.

Hosea Williams Searching Through Dr. Martin Luther King's BriefcaseHosea Williams was born January 5, 1926, in Attapulgus, Georgia. He joined the NAACP in 1952 and the SCLC in 1964. He played a leadership role in the 1965 March to Montgomery. In 1974, he was elected to the Georgia State Assembly. In 1987, he led Georgia’s biggest march, to Forsyth County. In 1996 he led a march to protest Georgia’s state flag. He died on November 16, 2000, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Civil Rights Movement

Williams first became active in the Civil Rights Movementin 1952, when he joined the Savannah chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Williams was motivated to join the NAACP after nearly being killed for using a whites-only water fountain.

During the late 1960s, at King’s urging, Williams collaborated with the Coordinating Council of Community Organizations on the Chicago Campaign. In 1968, he returned to the South as field director for the SCLC’s Poor People’s Campaign, and in April of that year witnessed King’s devastating assassination. In the 1970s, Williams was elected executive director of the SCLC.

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