The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

 

All this month we’re bringing you stories from North Carolina’s black history. Check back here each week day for a new tidbit from our state’s African American’s past.

On Easter weekend 1960, about 150 student leaders from ten states met at Shaw University in Raleigh for a conference on nonviolent resistance to segregation in the South. The meeting took place just two months after the Woolworth sit-ins in Greensboro had launched a nationwide protest effort. At the urging of its interim executive director, Ella Baker, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) hosted the conference to unite student activists who had been newly energized by the sit-in movement. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) grew out of those efforts. Though initiated by the SCLC, SNCC remained student-directed and student-driven at Baker’s insistence. Following a 1961 U.S. Supreme Court decision ending segregation in the transportation industry, SNCC members confronted violent opposition from locals while working as Freedom Riders on buses that carried integrated groups through the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. SNCC activists also played a key role in the 1963 March on Washington and constituted the "shock troops" and frontline leaders during the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964. Duke scholar John Hope Franklin called them “probably the most courageous and the most selfless” workers of the civil rights movement. 

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