Table of Contents
In the United States' history, African Americans have featured in every corner of the literary works. The literature has traditionally called it African American history. Most of these African Americans have existed in the United States since 1619. In the previous years, they were referred to as Negro Americans. However, apparently, they are referred to as African Americans as they are all believed to be descendents of African slaves in the United States. Since 1960s, when there was a civil right movement, African American history has continued to grow to constitute American history. The main reason is to understand the entire social, cultural and economical including the political history in America.
The Student Nonviolence Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was one of the key organizations that were developed in the year 1960 during American civil rights movement. A meeting, chaired by Ella Baker, was held at Shaw University. Baker led the group to its formation in Raleigh. The organization grew so fast, acquired more members, and gained massive grass root support. The huge support and increased membership enrolment in SNCC turned out to be a vital factor, especially in generating funds to support its operations. Mainly based in the South, workers who were recruited by the organization were paid salaries and given incentives. However, there were so many volunteers who were working with the organization without any pay thus promoting its growth. .
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was founded in the year 1960 April. The founders were young people who had been empowered by Greensboro in the North Carolina. They came up with their own strategy to assist in the realization of a new structure of the country. Ella baker, who conceived the whole idea of SNCC, requested members to remain autonomous in the organization rather than affiliate members. The students who were members of the SNCC appeared in large numbers at the conferences that were mostly held at Raleigh. The students decided to put the Supreme Court into test. They appeared before the law courts and claimed that the segregation in public facilities was not constitutional, and that they wanted justice to be done. They also protested about the civil rights and insisted that the bill on the civil right was too little, demanding that it be reviewed. Bob Moses became the director in the voters' registration in 1961. Although he was committed in Mississippi, he later joined SNCC.
Student nonviolence coordinating committee was inspired by Greensboro sit-ins. During this period, the public facilities were not available to blacks and the whites were to facilitate every process.
The first officials who assisted in the formation of SNCC included, John Lewis, who acted as a divinity student, Marion Barry Jr., mayor of Washington D.C, Julian Bond, senator in Georgia State and an activist in liberal. In their statement of the SNCC, they embraced the philosophy of nonviolence. Their statement of purpose portrayed their intention to abide by the religious and philosophical ideas of nonviolence. They advocated for harmony and faith. They also insisted on the need to ensure there is human existence and reconciliation through adoption of an environment of justice and peace. Marion Barry was the first chairman for SNCC. He served for a short period of only one year and later became the mayor in Washington DC.
The second chairman who replaced Barry was Charles F. McDew, who served from 1961 to 1963. He was later succeeded by his counterpart called John Lewis. During this period, the executive secretary was James Forman who played an important role in ensuring smooth running of the organization. In the so many years that followed, SNCC members were now being referred to as the revolution's shock troop as they continued taking high risks activities like attacking the Ku Klux Klan members. The official members took higher risks that were even personal when they decided to travel to the South. Robert Parris also played a vital role in the transformation of the SNCC. He led the organization to move from a coordinating committee to a community based political organization that assisted those who lived in the rural areas. SNCC also worked on the voter registration, insisted on one man one vote criteria. They also ensured voters were sensitized and encouraged to vote in the elections. Moreover, they insisted that students should come out in large numbers to choose their political leaders. The message was that failing to vote was just allowing unacceptable candidate to win an election. Additionally, it was more like allowing such unpopular politicians to continue destroying the country's economy. Kennedy was forced to provide federal protection to mob violence. During this time, there were no black federal agents in the FBI offices. All the offices were stuffed with white FBI from the South. This had a negative impact as they did not assist in ensuring that the black civil participated in voting and they did not facilitate their registration either.
By the year 1965, SNCC members had the largest number of staff among the civil right organization in the South, ensuring that everyone was able to register as a voter. More activists began during this era as they were trained. SNCC later decided to seek its structural changes in an effort to reach the entire American society.
Change in Strategy and dissolution
Immediately after the conventional democracy in the year 1964, the group split into two due to ideological differences. The first group was more focused on the nonviolence, integration and the need to redress grievances in the political systems. On the other hand, the other group concentrated on the black power and the ideologies of the revolutionary. This brought a big gap between the two groups, which is attributed to the eventual expulsion of white students from the school. The difference however continued to grow especially when there was the campaign of Selma voting rights. In 1966, John Lewis was chosen to be the leader of SNCC. Stokely Carmichael who was the military leader argued that the organization was not a civil right group as intended, but had become a racist organization that advocated for violence.
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In the year 1964, SNCC decided to join Congress on the Racial Equality platform. They organized their campaigns during summer seasons. Three members from the organization volunteered to concentrate on Mississippi, encouraging people to participate in the politics by voting in their preferred leaders. They also facilitated the campaigns to ensure more schools came up and sensitized people about freedom. Due to this, 30 freedom schools were developed. In 1966, Stokely Carmichael was chosen to be the chairman. To mark a further step towards extremism, H. Brown replaced Carmichael, triggering the stoppage of SNCC functions in the year 1970. Carmichael passed on in 1998 at the age of 57, shortly after donating his papers at Howard University. The continual disintegration of the groups weakened its operations and purpose, with unending internal and external squabbles. The organization also faced serious financial constraints, which consequently jeopardized its operations. H. Brown, as the chairman, tried to reduce the challenges facing the group. However, he was equally faced with other controversies at the management level. He however continued to lead the group towards its nonviolence goals campaigns and preached unity among the community members. In the early years, blacks were not allowed to be served in restaurants. However, the group's effort that was instigated by SNCC ensured that blacks were encouraged to insist on their rights as the citizens of the United States. One of the most effective campaign criteria was seen in blacks who staged sit-ins in hotels in large numbers until they got served. Although quite a number were arrested, others continued with this type of protest. Finally, the southern government was forced to change its stance, allowing blacks to start accessing the government facilities like museums, libraries and restaurants.
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SNCC became the federal bureau of investigation's target as they tried to bring down the black militancy. The government tried by all means to ensure that the black militancy did not exist. However, there was a high level of black discontent registered come 1968, and what followed was assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. At the time, the SNCC was so weak that the members did not have enough courage to face the then political force. Most of the loyal members had left the organization. By the end of the decade, SNCC FBI surveillance was forced to discontinue as they did not even have activities to perform. They later closed their offices due to lack of activities. The lives and times of SNCC leaders were quite challenging. They faced heavy government criticism over their activities. They were seen as people who were just out to destabilize and curtail government activities. However, many people attribute the American societies freedom and stoppage of racial segregation to its efforts.