(Excerpts from the 1989 documentary Street Heat (Skylight Pictures) of Albert Turner, civil rights leader, speaking at the Survival Summit organized by the National Union of the Homeless and the National Welfare Rights Union.)
During the civil rights movement, Albert Turner served as field secretary for the SCLC in Alabama. His courageous leadership in the struggle made him one of King’s most valued lieutenants. He was on the frontline of non-violent marchers attacked on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, in Selma, AL, on “Bloody Sunday”, March 7, 1965. As part of the SCLC organization, he helped in the organization of the Poor People’s Campaign. In the funeral procession for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Turner led the mules pulling the wagon that carried King’s body. He later dedicated himself to serving his community in Perry County Alabama, while continuing to provide statewide leadership in the SCLC.
In July 1989, 450 people from 33 states gathered in Philadelphia, PA for the Survival Summit. The National Union of the Homeless and the National Welfare Rights Union were leading forces in organizing this gathering. At the summit, Turner described himself as a “root doctor” and explained what that meant.