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Wilhelmina Hall is a trailblazer. So are we.

Wilhelmina Hall spent a lot of time sitting in crowded pews at Shiloh and Mt. Zion Baptist Churches during the Albany Movement. She was there for just about every community meeting led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights pioneers in the early sixties. “Dr. King made a great impression on me,” Mrs. Hall said. “My family was very close to the Kings. While his voice was soft and calm in personal conversations, he was a powerful speaker and a marvelous man.”

As a clerical volunteer for the Movement, she had almost daily interactions with Dr. King. Those experiences had a profound impact on Mrs. Hall, but long before the civil rights movement, she was dedicated to improving the city in which she grew up.

She graduated from Madison (now Monroe) High School, attended Hampton University and earned advanced degrees from Valdosta State University before following her parents into a career in education. After 22 years as a classroom teacher, she became the first human resources director for the Dougherty County School System. “Education was so important to me,” Mrs. Hall said. “Just watching the children learn and seeing how they took to my teaching was such a rewarding experience.”

Her mother-in-law was one of the first five African American nurses in Albany. Phoebe hired those nurses from Tuskegee University when the hospital opened in 1911. Mrs. Hall was a pioneer, too, becoming the first African American member of numerous community organizations in Albany including the Girl Scouts Council and the Carnegie Library. As an avid reader, she longed to visit the library as a girl, but she wasn’t allowed in because of the color of her skin. She later served for many years on the library’s board.

Mrs. Hall took part in the Albany Movement because she shared the motives of those iconic leaders and the righteousness of their goals. “I wanted to give my service because I believed in what they believed in,” she said. She’s been involved in countless community activities over the decades because she is committed to making sure Albany continues to march forward. And she serves on the board of Phoebe Putney Health System because she believes in our history of serving all in need of medical care and our promise to work hard every day to improve healthcare for southwest Georgians.