Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)
The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC (pronounced "snick"), was one of the key
Emerging from the student-led sit-ins to protest segregated lunch counters in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Nashville, Tennessee, SNCC's strategy was much different from that of already established civil rights organizations. In April 1960, on the Shaw University campus in Raleigh, North Carolina, students of the sit-in movement met with Ella Baker, executive secretary of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and they established SNCC. SNCC sought to coordinate youth-led nonviolent, direct-action campaigns against segregation and other forms of racism. SNCC members played an integral role in sit-ins, Freedom Rides, the 1963 March on Washington, and such voter education projects as the Mississippi Freedom Summer.
The Albany Movement
In October 1961 SNCC field secretaries Charles Sherrod and Cordell Reagon arrived in Albany to establish a voter registration office and to test local compliance with the Interstate Commerce Commission's ruling, which barred segregation in interstate transportation terminals.
Although the sit-ins and voter registration drives in Albany, which lasted through the summer of 1962, cannot be considered unqualified successes, Albany produced the largest direct-action campaign since the Montgomery bus boycotts. As a result, civil rights activists learned to organize mass demonstrations that would provoke the federal government to intervene. Also, the protests demonstrated not only the appeal of SNCC to urban blacks but also the importance of the church and religious beliefs as a foundation for mass struggle among blacks in general.
Atlanta was also a center for SNCC activity. Home to a sizable black professional and middle class and five historically black colleges and universities, Atlanta was also King's birthplace and home to the SCLC. In October 1960 SNCC held its second conference in Atlanta and chose the city as its headquarters. Immediately following the conference, SNCC staged massive sit-ins at the lunch counters of several Atlanta department stores, including Rich's. Several students were arrested, as was King.
The Atlanta Project
The separatist nature of the Atlanta Project ran counter to the national SNCC leadership, and within a year after Carmichael assumed SNCC leadership, he had fired all Atlanta Project workers, effectively ending the program. The project's spirit would live on through such federally sponsored programs as Model Cities.
The Demise of SNCC
Ronald H. Bayor, Race and the Shaping of Twentieth-Century Atlanta (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996).
Stokely Carmichael with Ekwueme Michael Thelwell, Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael (New York: Scribner, 2003).
Clayborne Carson, In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s (reprint, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995).
David J. Garrow, ed., Atlanta, Georgia, 1960-1961: Sit-ins and Student Activism (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Carlson, 1989).
David Andrew Harmon, Beneath the Image of the Civil Rights Movement and Race Relations: Atlanta, Georgia, 1946-1981 (New York: Garland, 1996).
Irene V. Holliman, University of Georgia
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