Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Newsletter, May 21, 1963
By the time the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) published this newsletter, the civil rights movement was in full swing across the nation. Boycotts, rallies, marches, strikes, and sit-ins were all part of a national movement that brought together people from all walks of life in pursuit of a common goal. The many different protests mentioned in the newsletter, in addition to the many different protestors who participated in them, provide a glimpse into the kinds of mainstream nonviolent action that occurred throughout the struggle for racial equality.
Founded in 1960 by activist students throughout the South, SNCC aimed to challenge racial discrimination and segregation wherever it was most prevalent in America. Intent on representing their message with a diverse membership as well as with protests, both SNCC and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) welcomed members from all racial backgrounds and from all over the country. What united these volunteers was the willingness to challenge laws that were incongruent with their definitions of freedom. Many, like the Freedom Walkers arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, refused to place bail and remained imprisoned. If they broke laws, they did so willingly and thoughtfully; as Martin Luther King Jr. said in his 1963 Letter from Birmingham Jail, "an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law."
The tactics of the activists chronicled in newsletters of this sort eventually won over the hearts and minds of Americans throughout the 1960s. Although the civil rights movement was a national phenomenon, documents like this SNCC bulletin display the individual struggles made by Americans to achieve the dream of racial equality.
SNCC, 1960-1966: Six Years of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, accessed November 2012, www.ibiblio.org/sncc/index.html.
Mary Stanton, Freedom Walk: Mississippi or Bust (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2003).