Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

When and where it was founded

On February 1, 1960, a group of black college students from North Carolina A&T University refused to leave a Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC (pronounced "snick"), was created on the campus of Shaw University in Raleigh two months later to coordinate these sit-ins, support their leaders, and publicize their activities.

Mission of the organization

SNCC's original statement of purpose established nonviolence as the driving philosophy behind the organization. However, things were never that simple. In the early days, during the period of the sit-in movement, nonviolent action was strictly enforced, particularly for public demonstrations, as it was key to the movement's success.

Leaders and key figures listed with brief annotations

  • Stokely Carmichael from Howard University
  • Charles F. McDew, who led student protests at South Carolina State University
  • J. Charles Jones, who organized 200 students to participate in sit-ins at department stores throughout Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Julian Bond from Atlanta,
  • Diane Nash from Fisk University
  • James Lawson; and John Lewis, Bernard Lafayette, James Bevel, and Marion Barry from the Nashville Student Movement

Goals of the organization

When SNCC was first organized the students pushed for non segregated lunch counters. As the organization expanded it became known for there work done in pushing blacks to vote, and later known for the freedom riders.

Strategies used to attain goals

  • Sit-ins: The first sit-in on February 1, 1960 in Greensboro, North Carolina, is said to have been the catalyst for an entire movement, including the birth of SNCC.
  • Freedom Rides: During the Freedom Rides, SNCC members rode buses through the deep southern states where discrimination and segregation were most prominent.
  • Freedom Ballot: SNCC members viewed gaining the right to vote as a significant move towards racial equality in the South. If blacks had the power of the vote, SNCC felt they would have influence over many important aspects of southern politics.
  • Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party: The Freedom Ballot set the stage for the Mississippi Summer Project, organized primarily by Bob Moses. SNCC worked hard in the winter and spring of 1963-64 preparing for the project, which was an urgent call to action for students in Mississippi to challenge and overcome the white racism in the state of Mississippi.
  • March on Washington: SNCC played a key role in the 1963 March on Washington where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous "I have a dream" speech.

Write a short essay on the organization's impact on the Civil Rights movement and how the organization advanced the cause of civil rights for African-Americans.

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