Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Position Paper the Basis of Black Power (1966)
Student NonviolentCoordinating Committee Position Paper: The Basis of Black Power 1966
Page 1 of 6Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Position Paper: The Basis of Black PowerSource of text:http://www2.iath.virginia.edu/sixties/HTML_docs/Resources/Primary/Manifestos/SNCC_black_power.htmlThe myth that the Negro is somehow incapable of liberating himself, is lazy, etc., came out ofthe American experience. In the books that children read, whites are always "good" (goodsymbols are white), blacks are "evil" or seen as savages in movies, their language is referred toas a "dialect," and black people in this country are supposedly descended from savages.Any white person who comes into the movement has the concepts in his mind about blackpeople, if only subconsciously. He cannot escape them because the whole society has geared hissubconscious in that direction.Miss America coming from Mississippi has a chance to represent all of America, but a blackperson from either Mississippi or New York will never represent America. Thus the white peoplecoming into the movement cannot relate to the black experience, cannot relate to the word"black," cannot relate to the "nitty gritty," cannot relate to the experience that brought such aword into existence, cannot relate to chitterlings, hogs head cheese, pig feet, ham hocks, andcannot relate to slavery, because these things are not a part of their experience. They also cannotrelate to the black religious experience, nor to the black church, unless, of course, this church hastaken on white manifestations.White PowerNegroes in this country have never been allowed to organize themselves because of whiteinterference. As a result of this, the stereotype has been reinforced that blacks cannot organizethemselves. The white psychology that blacks have to be watched, also reinforces this stereotype.Blacks, in fact, feel intimidated by the presence of whites, because of their knowledge of thepower that whites have over their lives. One white person can come into a meeting of blackpeople and change the complexion of that meeting, where a meeting unless he was an obviousUncle Tom. People would immediately start talking about "brotherhood," "love," etc.; racewould not be discussed.If people must express themselves freely, there has to be a climate in which they can do this. Ifblacks feel intimidated by whites, then they are not liable to vent the rage that they feel aboutwhites in the presence of whites--especially not the black people whom we are trying toorganize, i.e., the broad masses of black people. A climate has to be created whereby blacks canStudent Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Position Paper:The Basis of Black Power (1966)
Page 2 of 6express themselves. The reasons that whites must be excluded is not that one is anti-white, butbecause the effects that one is trying to achieve cannot succeed because whites have anintimidating effect. Ofttimes, the intimidating effect is in direct proportion to the amount ofdegradation that black people have suffered at the hands of white people.Roles of Whites and BlacksIt must be offered that white people who desire change in this country should go where thatproblem (racism) is most manifest. The problem is not in the black community. The white peopleshould go into white communities where the whites have created power for the express purposeof denying blacks human dignity and self-determination. Whites who come into the blackcommunity with ideas of change seem to want to absolve the power structure of its responsibilityfor what it is doing, and saying that change can only come through black unity, which is theworst kind of paternalism. This is not to say that whites have not had an important role in themovement. In the case of Mississippi, their role was very key in that they helped give blacks theright to organize, but that role is now over, and it should be.People now have the right to picket, the right to give out leaflets, the right to vote, the right todemonstrate, the right to print.These things which revolve around the right to organize have been accomplished mainly becauseof the entrance of white people into Mississippi, in the summer of 1964. Since these goals havenow been accomplished, whites role in the movement has now ended. What does it mean ifblack people, once having the right to organize, are not allowed to organize themselves? It meansthat blacks ideas about inferiority are being reinforced. Shouldnt people be able to organizethemselves? Blacks should be given this right. Further, white participation means in the eyes ofthe black community that whites are the "brains" behind the movement, and that blacks cannotfunction without whites. This only serves to perpetuate existing attitudes within the existingsociety, i.e., blacks are "dumb," "unable to take care of business," etc. Whites are "smart," the"brains" behind the whole thing.How do blacks relate to other blacks as such? How do we react to Willie Mays as against MickeyMantle? What is our response to Mays hitting a home run against Mantel performing the samedeed? One has to come to the conclusion that it is because of black participation in baseball.Negroes still identify with the Dodgers because of Jackie Robinsons efforts with the Dodgers.Negroes would instinctively champion all-black teams if they opposed all white orpredominantly white teams. The same principle operates for the movement as it does forbaseball: a mystique must be created whereby Negroes can identify with the movement.Thus an all-black project is needed in order for the people to free themselves. This has to existfrom the beginning. This relates to what can be called "coalition politics." There is no doubt inour minds that some whites are just as disgusted with this system as we are. But it is meaninglessto talk about coalition if there is no one to align ourselves with, because of the lack oforganization in the white communities. There can be no talk of "hooking up" unless black peopleorganize blacks and white people organize whites. If these conditions are met, then perhaps atStudent Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Position Paper:The Basis of Black Power (1966)
Page 3 of 6some later date--and if we are going in the same direction--talks about exchange of personnel,coalition, and other meaningful alliances can be discussed.In the beginning of the movement, we had fallen into a trap whereby we thought that ourproblems revolved around the right to eat at certain lunch counters or the right to vote, or toorganize our communities. We have seen, however, that the problem is much deeper. Theproblem of this country, as we had seen it, concerned all blacks and all whites and therefore ifdecisions were left to the young people, then solutions would be arrived at. But this negates thehistory of black people and whites. We have dealt stringently with the problem of "Uncle Tom,"but we have not yet gotten around to Simon Legree. We must ask ourselves, who is the realvillain--Uncle Tom or Simon Legree? Everybody knows Uncle Tom, but who knows SimonLegree? So what we have now in SNCC is a closed society, a clique. Black people cannot relateto SNCC because of its unrealistic, nonracial atmosphere; denying their experience of Americaas a racist society. In contrast, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Martin LutherKing, Jr., has a staff that at least maintains a black facade. The front office is virtually all black,but nobody accuses SCLC of being racist.If we are to proceed toward true liberation, we must cut ourselves off from white people. Wemust form our own institutions, credit unions, co-ops, political parties, write our own histories.To proceed further, let us make some comparisons between the Black Movement of the early1900s and the movement of the 1960s--i.e., compare the National Association for theadvancement of Colored People with SNCC. Whites subverted the Niagara movement (theforerunner of the NAACP) which, at the outset, was an all-black movement. The name of thenew organization was also very revealing, in that it presupposed blacks have to advanced to thelevel of whites. We are now aware that the NAACP has grown reactionary, is controlled by theblack power structure itself, and stands as one of the main roadblocks to black freedom. SNCC,by allowing the whites to remain in the organization, can have its efforts subverted in much thesame manner, i.e., through having them play important roles such as community organizers, etc.Indigenous leadership cannot be built with whites in the positions they now hold.These facts do not mean that whites cannot help. They can participate on a voluntary basis. Wecan contract work out to them, but in no way can they participate on a policy-making level.Black Self-DeterminationThe charge may be made that we are "racists," but whites who are sensitive to our problems willrealize that we must determine our own destiny.In an attempt to find a solution to our dilemma, we propose that our organization (SNCC) shouldbe black-staffed, black-controlled, and black-financed. We do not want to fall into a similardilemma that other civil rights organizations have fallen into. If we continue to rely upon whitefinancial support we will find ourselves entwined in the tentacles of the white power complexthat controls this country. It is also important that a black organization (devoid of cultism) beprojected to our people so that it can be demonstrated that such organizations are viable.Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Position Paper:The Basis of Black Power (1966)
Page 4 of 6More and more we see black people in this country being used as a tool of the white liberalestablishment. Liberal whites have not begun to address themselves to the real problem of blackpeople in this country--witness their bewilderment, fear, and anxiety when nationalism ismentioned concerning black people. An analysis of the white liberals reaction to the word"nationalism" alone reveals a very meaningful attitude of whites of an ideological persuasiontoward blacks in this country. It means previous solutions to black problems in this country havebeen made in the interests of those whites dealing with these problems and not in the bestinterests of black people in the country. Whites can only subvert our true search and struggles forself-determination, self-identification, and liberation in this country. Reevaluation of the whiteand black roles must now take place so that white no longer designate roles that black peopleplay but rather black people define white peoples roles.Too long have we allowed white people to interpret the importance and meaning of the culturalaspects of our society. We have allowed them to tell us what was good about our Afro-Americanmusic, art, and literature. How many black critics do we have on the "jazz" scene? How can awhite person who is not part of the black psyche (except in the oppressors role) interpret themeaning of the blues to us who are manifestations of the song themselves?It must be pointed out that on whatever level of contact blacks and whites come together, thatmeeting or confrontation is not on the level of the blacks but always on the level of the whites.This only means that our everyday contact with whites is a reinforcement of the myth of whitesupremacy. Whites are the ones who must try to raise themselves to our humanistic level. We arenot, after all, the ones who are responsible for a genocidal war in Vietnam; we are not the oneswho are responsible for neocolonialism in Africa and Latin America; we are not the ones whoheld a people in animalistic bondage over 400 years. We reject the American dream as definedby white people and must work to construct an American reality defined by Afro-Americans.White RadicalsOne of the criticisms of white militants and radicals is that when we view the masses of whitepeople we view the overall reality of America, we view the racism, the bigotry, and the distortionof personality, we view mans inhumanity to man; we view in reality 180 million racists. Thesensitive white intellectual and radical who is fighting to bring about change is conscious of thisfact, but does not have the courage to admit this. When he admits this reality, then he must alsoadmit his involvement because he is a part of the collective white America. It is only to theextent that he recognizes this that he will be able to change this reality.Another common concern is, how does the white radical view the black community, and howdoes he view the poor white community, in terms of organizing? So far, we have found that mostwhite radicals have sought to escape the horrible reality of America by going into the blackcommunity and attempting to organize black people while neglecting the organization of theirown peoples racist communities. How can one clean up someone elses yard when ones ownyard is untidy? Again we feel that SNCC and the civil rights movement in general is in manyaspects similar to the anticolonial situations in the African and Asian countries. We have thewhites in the movement corresponding to the white civil servants and missionaries in the colonialcountries who have worked with the colonial people for a long period of time and haveStudent Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Position Paper:The Basis of Black Power (1966)
Page 5 of 6developed a paternalistic attitude toward them. The reality of the colonial people taking overtheir own lives and controlling their own destiny must be faced. Having to move aside andletting the natural process of growth and development take place must be faced.These views should not be equated with outside influence or outside agitation but should beviewed as the natural process of growth and development within a movement; so that the moveby the black militants and SNCC in this direction should be viewed as a turn toward self-determination.It is very ironic and curious that aware whites in the country can champion anticolonialism inother countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, but when black people move toward similargoals of self-determination in this country they are viewed as racists and anti-white by thesesame progressive whites. In proceeding further, it can be said that this attitude derives from theoverall point of view of the white psyche as it concerns the black people. This attitude stemsfrom the era of the slave revolts when every white man was a potential deputy or sheriff orguardian of the state. Because when black people get together among themselves to workouttheir problems, it becomes a threat to white people, because such meetings were potential slaverevolts.It can be maintained that this attitude or way of thinking has perpetuated itself to this currentperiod and that it is part of the psyche of white people in this country whatever their politicalpersuasion might be. It is part of the white fear-guilt complex resulting from the slave revolts.There have been examples of whites who stated that they can deal with black fellows on anindividual basis but become threatened or menaced by the presence of groups of blacks. It can bemaintained that this attitude is held by the majority of progressive whites in this country.Black IdentityA thorough re-examination must be made by black people concerning the contributions that wehave made in shaping this country. If this re-examination and re-evaluation is not made, andblack people are not given their proper due and respect, then the antagonisms and contradictionsare going to become more and more glaring, more and more intense, until a national explosionmay result.When people attempt to move from these conclusions it would be faulty reasoning to say theyare ordered by racism, because, in this country and in the West, racism has functioned as a typeof white nationalism when dealing with black people. We all know the habit that this has createdthroughout the world and particularly among nonwhite people in this country.Therefore any re-evaluation that we must make will, for the most part, deal with identification.Who are black people, what are black people, what is their relationship to America and theworld?It must be repeated that the whole myth of "Negro citizenship," perpetuated by the white elite,has confused the thinking of radical and progressive blacks and whites in this country. The broadmasses of black people react to American society in the same manner as colonial peoples react toStudent Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Position Paper:The Basis of Black Power (1966)
Page 6 of 6the West in Africa and Latin America, and had the same relationship--that of the colonizedtoward the colonizer.Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Position Paper:The Basis of Black Power (1966)
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee 1 Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee African American topics Category · Portal The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) ( /ˈsnɪk/) was one of the organizations of the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. It emerged from a series of student meetings led by Ella Baker held at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina in April 1960. SNCC grew into a large organization with many supporters in the North who helped raise funds to support SNCCs work in the South, allowing full-time SNCC workers to have a $10 per week salary. Many unpaid volunteers also worked with SNCC on projects in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, and Maryland. SNCC played a major role in the sit-ins and freedom rides, a leading role in the 1963 March on Washington, Mississippi Freedom Summer, and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party over the next few years. SNCCs major contribution was in its field work, organizing voter registration drives all over the South, especially in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. A final SNCC legacy is the destruction of the psychological shackles which had kept black southerners in physical and mental peonage; SNCC helped break those chains forever. It demonstrated that ordinary women and men, young and old, could perform extraordinary tasks. —Julian Bond In the later 1960s, led by fiery leaders such as Stokely Carmichael, SNCC focused on "black power", and then protesting against the Vietnam War. As early as 1965, James Forman said he didn’t know “how much longer we can stay nonviolent” and in 1969, SNCC officially changed its name to the Student National Coordinating Committee to reflect the broadening of its strategies. It passed out of existence in the 1970s. Founding and early years Inspired by the Greensboro sit-ins, independent student-led groups began direct-action protests against segregation in dozens of southern communities. The most common action of these groups was organizing sit-ins at racially segregated lunch counters to protest the pervasiveness of Jim Crow and other forms of racism. In addition to sitting in at lunch counters, the groups also organized and carried out protests at segregated public libraries, public parks, and public swimming pools. At that time, all those amish facilities financed by taxes were closed to blacks. The white response was often to close the facility, rather than integrate it. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, as an organization, began with an $800.00 grant from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) for a conference where attended by 126 student delegates from 58 sit-in centers in 12 states, along with delegates from 19 northern colleges, the SCLC, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), National Student Association (NSA), and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Out of this conference the SNCC (SNCC) was formed. Ella Baker, who organized the Shaw conference, had been the SCLC director before helping to form SNCC, but SNCC was not a branch of SCLC. Instead of being closely tied to SCLC or the NAACP as a "youth division", SNCC sought to stand on its own. Among important SNCC leaders attending the conference were 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;
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee 2 Julian Bond from Atlanta, Diane Nash; James Lawson; John Lewis; Bernard Lafayette; James Bevel; and Marion Barry from the Nashville Student Movement. SNCCs first chairman was Marion Barry, who later became the mayor of Washington DC. Barry served as chairman for one year. The second chairman was Charles F. McDew, who served as the chairman from 1961 to 1963, when he was succeeded by John Lewis. SNCCs executive secretary, James Forman, played a major role in running the organization. In the years that followed, SNCC members were referred to as “shock troops of the revolution." SNCC took on greater risks in 1961, after a mob of Ku Klux Klan members and other whites attacked integrated groups of bus passengers who defied local segregation laws as part of the Freedom Rides organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Rather than allowing mob violence to stop them, CORE and SNCC "Freedom Riders," including Diane Nash, James Bevel, Marion Barry, Angeline Butler, and John Lewis, put themselves at great personal risk by traveling in racially-integrated groups through the deep South. At least 436 people took part in these Freedom Rides during the spring and summer of 1961. Robert Parris Moses (also known as Robert Parris or Bob Moses) played a central role in transforming SNCC from a coordinating committee of student protest groups to an organization of organizers dedicated to building community-based political organizations of the rural poor. The voter registration project he initiated in McComb, Mississippi in 1961 became the seed for most of SNCCs activities from 1962-1966. After the Freedom Rides, SNCC worked primarily on voter registration, along with local protests about segregated public facilities. Registering to vote was extremely difficult and dangerous, as blacks who attempted to register often lost their jobs and their homes. SNCC workers lived with local families and often the homes providing such hospitality were firebombed. The actions of SNCC, CORE, and SCLC forced the Kennedy Administration to briefly provide federal protection to temporarily abate mob violence. Local FBI offices were usually staffed by Southern whites (there were no black FBI agents at that time) who refused to intervene to protect civil rights workers or local blacks who were attempting to register to vote. One of the ways in which SNCC was unusual among civil rights groups was the way in which decisions were made. Instead of "top down" control, as was the case with most organizations at that time, decisions in SNCC were made by consensus. Group meetings would be convened in which every participant could speak for as long as they wanted and the meeting would continue until everyone was in agreement with the decision. Because activities were often very dangerous and could lead to prison or death, SNCC wanted all participants to support each activity. By 1965, SNCC fielded the largest staff of any civil rights organization in the South. It had organized nonviolent direct action against segregated facilities, as well as voter-registration projects, in Alabama, Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, Louisiana, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Mississippi; built two independent political parties and organized labor unions and agricultural cooperatives; and given the movement for womens liberation new energy. It inspired and trained the activists who began the "New Left." It helped expand the limits of political debate within black America, and broadened the focus of the civil rights movement. Unlike mainstream civil rights groups, which merely sought integration of blacks into the existing order, SNCC sought structural changes in American society itself. —Julian Bond
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee 3 March on Washington SNCC played a signal role in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. While many speakers applauded the Kennedy Administration for the efforts it had made toward obtaining new, more effective civil rights legislation protecting the right to vote and outlawing segregation, John Lewis took the administration to task for how little it had done to protect Southern blacks and civil rights workers under attack in the Deep South. Although he was forced to tone down his speech under pressure from the representatives of other civil rights organizations on the march organization committee, his words still stung. The version of the speech leaked to the press went as follows: "We march today for jobs and freedom, but we have nothing to be proud of, for hundreds and thousands of our brothers are not here — for they have no money for their transportation, for they are receiving starvation wages...or no wages at all. In good conscience, we cannot support the administrations civil rights bill. This bill will not protect young children and old women from police dogs and fire hoses when engaging in peaceful demonstrations. This bill will not protect the citizens of Danville, Virginia who must live in constant fear in a police state. This bill will not protect the hundreds of people who have been arrested on trumped-up charges like those in Americus, Georgia, where four young men are in jail, facing a death penalty, for engaging in peaceful protest. I want to know, which side is the federal government on? The revolution is a serious one. Mr. Kennedy is trying to take the revolution out of the streets and put it in the courts. Listen Mr. Kennedy, the black masses are on the march for jobs and for freedom, and we must say to the politicians that there wont be a cooling-off period." However, under pressure from the representatives of other groups many changes were made to the speech as it was delivered that day. According to James Forman, the most important of these was the change of "we cannot support" the Kennedy Civil Rights Bill to "we support with reservations". Forman wrote of the following explanation of this: "Somewhere along the line, the church and labor people had been told that this was a march to support the administrations Civil Rights Bill, which was passed in 1964, after Kennedys death. Who did this and how it happened, I do not know. But people all over the country thought they were marching for jobs and freedom when in actuality the sellout leadership of the March on Washington was playing patsy with the Kennedy administration as part of the whole liberal-labor politics of Rustin, Wilkins, Randolph, Reuther, King, the Catholic and Protestant hierarchy. If people had known they had come to Washington to aid the Kennedy administration, they would not have come in the numbers they did." Formans and SNCCs anger came in part from the failure of the federal government, FBI and Justice Department to protect SNCC civil rights workers in the South at this time. Indeed, the federal government at that time was instrumental in indicting SNCC workers and other civil rights activists. Voting rights In 1961 SNCC began expanding its activities from direct-action protests against segregation into other forms of organizing, most notably voter registration. Under the leadership of Bob Moses, SNCCs first voter-registration project was in McComb, Mississippi, an effort suppressed with arrests and savage white violence, resulting in the murder of local activist Herbert Lee. With funding from the Voter Education Project, SNCC expanded its voter registration efforts into the Mississippi Delta around Greenwood, Southwest Georgia around Albany, and the Alabama Black Belt around Selma. All of these projects endured police harassment and arrests; KKK violence including shootings, bombings, and assassinations; and economic terrorism against those blacks who dared to try to register. In the fall of 1963, SNCC conducted the Freedom Ballot, a parallel election in which black Mississippians came out to show their willingness to vote — a right they had been denied for decades, despite the provisions of the Fifteenth
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee 4 Amendment to the United States Constitution, due to a combination of state laws and constitutional provisions, economic reprisals and violence by white authorities and private citizens. SNCC followed up on the Freedom Ballot with the Mississippi Summer Project, also known as Freedom Summer, which focused on voter registration and Freedom Schools. The Summer Project brought hundreds of white Northern students to the South where they volunteered as teachers and organizers. Their presence brought national press attention to SNCCs work in the south. SNCC organized black Mississippians to register to vote, almost always without success. White authorities either rejected their applications on any pretexts available or, failing that, simply refused to accept their applications. Mississippi Summer got national attention when three civil rights workers involved in the project, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, were lynched after having been released from police custody. Their bodies were eventually found after a reluctant J. Edgar Hoover directed the FBI to search for them. In the process the FBI also found corpses of several other missing black Mississippians, whose disappearances had not attracted public attention outside the Delta. SNCC also established Freedom Schools to teach children to read and to educate them to stand up for their rights. As in the struggle to desegregate public accommodations led by Martin Luther King, Jr. in Birmingham, Alabama the year before, the bolder attitudes of the children helped shake their parents out of the fear that had paralyzed many of them. The goal of the Mississippi Summer Project was to organize the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), an integrated party, to win seats at the 1964 Democratic National Convention for a slate of delegates elected by disfranchised black Mississippians and white sympathizers. The MFDP was, however, tremendously inconvenient for the Johnson Administration. It had wanted to minimize the inroads that Barry Goldwater’s campaign was making into what had previously been the Democratic stronghold of the “Solid South” and the support that George Wallace received during the Democratic primaries in the North. When the MFDP started to organize a fight over credentials, Johnson originally would not budge. When Fannie Lou Hamer, the leader of the MFDP, was in the midst of testifying about the police beatings of her and others for attempting to exercise their right to vote, Johnson preempted television coverage of the credentials fight. Even so, her testimony created enough uproar that Johnson offered the MFDP a "compromise": they would receive two non-voting seats, while the delegation sent by the official Democratic Party would take its seats. Johnson used all of his resources, mobilizing Walter Reuther, one of his key supporters within the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, and his Vice-Presidential nominee Hubert Humphrey, to pressure King and other mainstream civil rights leaders to bring the MFDP around, while directing Hoover to put the delegation under surveillance. The MFDP rejected both the compromise and the pressure to accept it, and walked out. That experience destroyed what little faith SNCC activists had in the federal government, even though Johnson had obtained a broad Civil Rights Act barring discrimination in public accommodations, employment and private education in 1964 and would go on to obtain an equally broad Voting Rights Act in 1965. It also estranged SNCC leaders from many of the mainstream leaders of the civil rights movement. Those differences carried over into the voting rights struggle that centered on Selma, Alabama in 1965. SNCC had begun organizing black citizens to register to vote in Selma in 1963, but made little headway against the adamant resistance of Sheriff Jim Clark and the White Citizens Council. In early 1965, local Selma activists asked the Southern Christian Leadership Conference for help, and the two organizations formed an uneasy alliance. They disagreed over tactical and strategic issues, including the SCLCs decision not to attempt to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge a second time after county sheriffs and state troopers attacked them on "Bloody Sunday" on March 7, 1965. The civil rights activists crossed the bridge on the third attempt, with the aid of a federal court order barring authorities from interfering with the march. It was part of a five-day march to Montgomery, Alabama that helped dramatize the need for a Voting Rights Act. During this period, SNCC activists became more and more disenchanted
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee 5 with nonviolence, integration as a strategic goal, and cooperation with white liberals or the Federal government. Change in strategy and dissolution Many within the organization had grown skeptical about the tactics of nonviolence. After the Democratic convention of 1964, the group began to split into two factions – one favoring a continuation of nonviolent, integration-oriented redress of grievances within the existing political system, and the other moving towards Black Power and revolutionary ideologies. In 1965 the white members were expelled. These differences continued to grow during the Selma Voting Rights campaign. After the Watts riots in Los Angeles in 1965, some SNCC members sought to break their ties with the mainstream civil rights movement and the liberal organizations that supported it. They argued instead that blacks needed to build power of their own rather than seek accommodations from the power structure in place. Eventually, the leader of the militant branch, Stokely Carmichael (later Kwame Ture), replaced John Lewis as head of SNCC in May 1966. Carmichael first argued that blacks should be free to use violence in self-defense; later he advocated revolutionary violence to overthrow oppression. Carmichael rejected the civil-rights legislation (that the movement had fought so hard to achieve) as mere palliatives. The Department of Defense stated in 1967: SNCC can no longer be considered a civil rights group. It has become a racist organization with black supremacy ideals and an expressed hatred for whites. It employs violent and militant measures which may be defined as extreme when compared with those of more moderate groups. Carmichael raised the banner of Black Power in a speech in Greenwood, Mississippi in June 1966. As the mainstream civil-rights movement distanced itself from SNCC, SNCC expelled white staff and volunteers, and denounced the whites who had supported it in the past. By early 1967, SNCC was approaching bankruptcy and close to disappearing. Carmichael left SNCC in June 1967 to join the Black Panther Party. H. Rap Brown, later known as Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, replaced him as the head of SNCC. Brown renamed the group the Student National Coordinating Committee and supported violence, which he described "as American as cherry pie". He resigned from SNCC in 1968, after being indicted for inciting to riot in Cambridge, Maryland in 1967. Brown then became Minister of Justice of the Black Panther Party. Brown also proposed violence against violence if the power structure in the US did not change its racist actions against Blacks. The FBI targeted him and incarcerated him without legal representation during 1968-1969. The government indicted Brown to make an example of him, despite a lack of proper evidence. By then, SNCC was no longer an effective organization. It largely disappeared in the early 1970s, although chapters in communities such as San Antonio, Texas continued for several more years. Mario Marcel Salas, field secretary of the SNCC chapter in San Antonio, operated until 1976. The San Antonio SNCC chapter was part Black Panther Party and part SNCC. Dr. Charles Jones of Atlanta State University termed it a "hybrid organization" because it had panther-style survival programs. Salas also worked closely with La Raza Unida Party, running for political office and organizing demonstrations to expose discrimination against Blacks and Latinos. Salas later helped the New Jewel Movement in the liberation of the island of Grenada from the dictator Eric Gairy in 1979, and became the chairman of the Free Nelson Mandela Movement in San Antonio Texas. SNCC and feminism SNCC activist Bernice Johnson Reagon described the Civil Rights Movement as the "borning movement" of the 1960s. The Womens Liberation Movement was one of the many movements born out of and inspired by the Civil Rights Movement. SNCC consisted of mostly college-age activists, and therefore provided opportunities for young women. Participation in organizations such as SNCC essentially marked the beginning of second-wave feminism in the US, which focused on changing social inequalities as opposed to the previous focus on legal issues
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee 6 in first-wave feminism. The influence of the Civil Rights movement also introduced mass protests and awareness campaigns as the main methods to obtain sexual equality. Many black women held prominent positions in the movement as a result of their participation in SNCC. Some of these women include Ruby Doris Smith Robinson, Donna Richards, Fay Bellamy, Gwen Patton, Cynthia Washington, Jean Wiley, Muriel Tillinghast, Fannie Lou Hamer, Annie Pearl Avery, Diane Nash, Ella Baker, Victoria Gray, Unita Blackwell, Bettie Mae Fikes, Joyce Ladner, Dorie Ladner, Gloria Richardson, Bernice Reagon, Prathia Hall, Gwendolyn Delores Robinson/Zoharah Simmons , Judy Richardson, Martha Prescod Norman Noonan, Ruby Sales, Endesha Ida Mae Holland, Eleanor Holmes Norton and Anne Moody. Anne Moody published her autobiography, Coming of Age in Mississippi, in 1970, detailing her decision to participate in SNCC and later CORE, and her experience as a woman in the movement. She described the widespread trend of black women to become involved with SNCC at their educational institutions. As young college students or teachers, these black women were often heavily involved in grassroots campaign by teaching Freedom Schools and promoting voter registration. Young white women also became very involved with SNCC, particularly after the Freedom Summer of 1964. Many northern white women were inspired by the ideology of racial equality. The book Deep in Our Hearts details the experiences of nine white women in SNCC. Some white women, such as Mary King, Constance W. Curry, and Casey Hayden, and Latino women such as Mary Varela and Elizabeth Sutherland Martinez, were able to obtain status and leadership within SNCC. Through organizations like SNCC, women of both races were becoming more politically active than at any time in American history since the Womens suffrage movement. A group of women in SNCC who were later identified as Mary King and Casey Hayden openly challenged the way women were treated when they issued the “SNCC Position Paper (Women in the Movement).” The paper was published anonymously, helping King and Hayden to avoid unwanted attention. The paper listed 11 events in which women were treated as subordinate to men. According to the paper, women in SNCC did not have a chance to become the face of the organization, the top leaders, because they were assigned to clerical and housekeeping duties, whereas men were involved in decision-making. The degree and significance of male-domination and womens subordination was hotly debated within SNCC; many of SNCCs black women disputed the premise that women were denied leadership roles. When Stokely Carmichael took over the leadership of SNCC from John Lewis, he essentially reoriented the path of SNCC towards Black Power. He famously said in a speech, “it is a call for black people to define their own goals, to lead their own organizations.” Thus, white women lost their influence and power in SNCC; Mary King and Casey Hayden left SNCC to become active in pursuing equality for women. They co-authored Sex and Caste: A Kind of Memo, which later became an influential piece in feminism. As SNCC turned its focus to Black Power, black women also lost their voice and became subject to the already-existing patriarchal structure of the organization. The limited opportunities for women from the original community-building ideology were erased by the usurping Black Power movement, in which power was more centralized in the hands of the male-dominated top leadership. Former SNCC member Kathleen Cleaver played a key role in the central committee of the Black Panther Party as communications secretary (1968). Her position in this "male dominated" leadership was both effective and influential to Brown, Red and Yellow Power groups of the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 2010 the Atlanta City Council renamed Raymond Street "SNCC Way".
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee 7 Fiftieth Anniversary Conference A conference marking the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of SNCC was held at Shaw University on 15–18 April 2010. References  Bond, Julian (October 2000). "SNCC: What We Did" (http:/ / findarticles. com/ p/ articles/ mi_m1132/ is_5_52/ ai_66937932/ print?tag=artBody;col1). Monthly Review: p. "legacy".  Clayborne Carson, In Struggle, SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s: Harvard University Press, 1981  Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Founded (http:/ / www. crmvet. org/ tim/ timhis60. htm#1960sncc) ~ Civil Rights Movement Veterans  Lewis, John (1998). Walking With the Wind. Simon & Schuster.  Bruce J. Dierenfield, The Civil Rights Movement, Harlow, England: Pearson Education Limited, 2004.  Freedom Rides (http:/ / www. crmvet. org/ tim/ timhis61. htm#1961frides) ~ Civil Rights Movement Veterans  March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (http:/ / www. crmvet. org/ tim/ tim63b. htm#1963mow) ~ Civil Rights Movement Veterans. [N.B. this text must be from a different source; at least three versions of the speech were written, and this is the earliest of those three, before "we cannot support" was changed to "we cannot wholeheartedly support" and then later "we support with reservations". See James Forman, The Making of Black Revolutionaries (1971; 1997), pp.334-337.]  The version of the speech that was delivered by Lewis to the march can be found in Formans autobiographical history of SNCC, The Making of Black Revolutionaries (1971), pp.336-337.  James Forman, The Making of Black Revolutionaries (1971; 1997), p.335  James Forman, The Making of Black Revolutionaries (1971; 1997), p.341  History & Timeline (http:/ / www. crmvet. org/ tim/ timhome. htm) ~ Civil Rights Movement Veterans  Selma – Cracking the Wall of Fear (http:/ / www. crmvet. org/ tim/ timhis63. htm1963selma1) ~ Civil Rights Movement Veterans  Stokely Carmichael and SNCC - Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) (http:/ / www. aavw. org/ protest/ carmichael_sncc_abstract06_full. html)  Payne, Charles (1995). Ive Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle. University of California Press.  http:/ / www. pbs. org/ thisfarbyfaith/ witnesses/ zohara_simmons. html  Coming of Age in Mississippi, Anne Moody  Personal Politics, Sara Evans  Curry et al., Constance (2002). Deep in Our Hearts: Nine White Women in the Freedom Movement. University of Georgia Press.  SNCC position paper: Women in the Movement, Anonymous (http:/ / www2. iath. virginia. edu/ sixties/ HTML_docs/ Resources/ Primary/ Manifestos/ SNCC_women. html)  Women & Men in the Freedom Movement (http:/ / www. crmvet. org/ disc/ women1. htm) ~ Civil Rights Movement Veterans  Stokely Carmichael, 1967  Mary King, Casey Hayden, Sex and Caste: A Kind of Memo (http:/ / www. feministezine. com/ feminist/ modern/ Sex-and-Caste. html)  http:/ / citycouncil. atlantaga. gov/ 2010/ images/ proposed/ 10O0135. pdf  SNCC 50th Anniversary Conference - Program (http:/ / www. sncc50thanniversary. org/ program. html) External links • SNCC 1960 - 1966: Six years of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (http://www.ibiblio.org/ sncc/index.html). Retrieved 2 May 2005. • Civil Rights Movement Veterans (http://www.crmvet.org) • Stokely Carmichael - Leader of SNCCs militant branch (http://stokely-carmichael.com) Further reading Archives • Ellin (Joseph and Nancy) Freedom Summer Collection (http://www.lib.usm.edu/~archives/m323.htm). Collection Number: M323. Dates: 1963 - 1988. Volume: 1.7 ft³ (48 L) The University of Southern Mississippi Libraries Special Collections (http://www.lib.usm.edu/~spcol/index.php). Retrieved 2 May 2005. Books
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee 8 • Carmichael, Stokely, et al. Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture). Scribner. 2005. 848 pages. ISBN 0-684-85004-4 • Carson, Claybourne. In Struggle, SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s. Cambridge Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 1981. ISBN 0-674-44727-1 • Forman, James. The Making of Black Revolutionaries, 1985 and 1997, Open Hand Publishing, Washington D.C. ISBN 0-295-97659-4 and ISBN 0-940880-10-5 • Greenberg, Cheryl Lynn, ed. A Circle of Trust: Remembering SNCC. Rutgers University Press. 1998. 274 pages. ISBN 0-8135-2477-6 • Halberstam, David. The Children, Ballantine Books. 1999. ISBN 0-449-00439-2 • Deep in Our Hearts: Nine White Women in the Freedom Movement, Univ of Georgia Press, 2002. ISBN 0-8203-2419-1 • Holsaert, Faith (and 5 others) Hands on the Freedom Plow Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC (http://www. press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/54yed3wd9780252035579.html). University of Illinois Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-252-03557-9. • Hogan, Wesley C. How democracy travels: SNCC, Swarthmore students, and the growth of the student movement in the North, 1961-1964. • Hogan, Wesley C. Many Minds, One Heart: SNCCs Dream for a New America, University of North Carolina Press. 2007. • Holsaert et al. Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC. University of Illinois Press. 2010. • King, Mary. "Freedom Song: A Personal Story of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement". 1987. • Lewis, John. Walking With the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement. New York: Simon & Schuster. 1998. • Pardun, Robert. Prairie Radical: A Journey Through the Sixties. California: Shire Press. 2001. 376 pages. ISBN 0-918828-20-1 • Salas, Mario Marcel. Masters Thesis: "Patterns of Persistence: Paternal Colonialist Structures and the Radical Opposition in the African American Community in San Antonio, Texas,1937–2001, by Mario Marcel Salas, University of Texas at San Antonio, John Peace Library 6900 Loop 1604, San Antonio, Texas, 2002. Other SNCC material located in historical records at the Institute of Texan Cultures, University of Texas at San Antonio as part of the Mario Marcel Salas historical record. • Sellers, Cleveland and Robert Terrell. The River of No Return: The Autobiography of a Black Militant and the Life and Death of SNCC. University Press of Mississippi; Reprint edition. 1990. 289 pages. ISBN 0-87805-474-X • Zinn, Howard. SNCC: The New Abolitionists. Boston: Beacon Press. 1964. ISBN 0-89608-679-8 Video • SNCC 50th Anniversary Conference (http://newsreel.org/video/SNCC-50TH-ANNIVERSARY) 38 DVD collection documenting the formal addresses, panel discussions and programs that took place at the 50th anniversary conference at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. Interviews • Transcript: An Oral History with Terri Shaw (http://www.lib.usm.edu/~spcol/crda/oh/shaw.htm). SNCC member and Freedom Summer participant. The University of Southern Mississippi Libraries Special Collections (http://www.lib.usm.edu/~spcol/index.php). Retrieved 2 May 2005. • Interviews with civil rights workers from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Stanford University Project South oral history collection. Microfilming Corp. of America. 1975. ISBN 0-88455-990-4. SNCC publications and documents • Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Founding Statement (http://lists.village.virginia.edu/sixties/ HTML_docs/Resources/Primary/Manifestos/SNCC_founding.html).
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee 9 • Memorandum: on the SNCC Mississippi Summer Project Transcript (http://anna.lib.usm.edu/~spcol/crda/ ellin/ellin062.html). Oxford, Ohio: General Materials (ca. June 1964). Retrieved 2 May 2005.
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