Between 1956 and 1963 the African American church in Birmingham initiated a movement to free blacks from the rigid segregation that existed in the city. In spite of growing militancy and activism on the part of pastors and others in the African American community during and after World War II, Birmingham remained in 1956 a citadel of segregation and racial discrimination. Besides social oppression, African Americans faced economic and political exploitation. The outlawing of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Alabama was the spark that set off a mass-based civil rights movement in Birmingham. In almost every way the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR) mirrored the African American church. Twenty-three members of the organization formed the ACMHR choir in July 1960 at the Forty-sixth Street Baptist Church. Highly personal, gospel music differed from other forms of African American music in that the soloists presented individual testimonials instead of expressing communal suffering.